CHICAGO (AP) - The Texas Rangers came to town with the best record in the majors and left U.S. Cellular Field the victims of a three-game sweep.
Texas was routed 19-2 in the opener, lost a tough 10-inning game in the middle and then couldn't find a way to solve Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Quintana in the series finale, dropping a 2-1 decision Thursday in searing heat.
The loss was the fourth straight for the two-time AL champions, matching their longest skid of the season.
``We're in first place in the West. That's where we are,' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ``That's what this series told us. We lost three ballgames, but we're in first place in the West.'
Washington wasn't distressed by his team's performance in the next-to-last series before he manages the AL in Tuesday's All-Star game in Kansas City.
``It's always disappointing when you pitch well and don't put enough runs on the board,' he said. ``Certainly not gonna shake our ability to know that we're a very good club. For three games against the Chicago White Sox, we didn't do very much. ... Other than that first game, I thought we played pretty good baseball.'
Quintana allowed only two hits in eight innings, outpitching All-Star Matt Harrison in a game that saw temperatures reach 102.
Harrison (11-4) pitched well, allowing only eight hits and two runs, including a go-ahead solo homer to Kevin Youkilis in the sixth. He finished with a complete game.
It was the first homer Harrison had allowed since June 3 and Thursday was his sixth start since that outing against the Angels. Harrison (11-4) gave up eight hits and two runs with two walks and five strikeouts in eight innings. He had won his previous seven decisions.
``More humidity here, so it was pretty miserable out there. Trying to have as quick of innings as possible, except for the one,' Harrison said. ``I was able to get us back in the dugout pretty quick and get the guys out of the heat. It was a really quick game. I'm sure nobody wanted to be out there, but we have to do it, so you might as well make the best of it, I guess.'
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on the two-out RBI single by Adrian Beltre when his liner struck Quintana near the left hip and ricocheted past Youkilis at first. Ian Kinsler, who had walked and moved to second on a grounder, scored on the play.
Chicago got it back in the bottom half as a walk and two singles loaded the bases before Alexei Ramirez hit an RBI grounder that Beltre made a nice play on while diving to his left. Dayan Viciedo then walked to re-load the bases before Harrison fanned Tyler Flowers.
Youkilis hit his sixth homer of the season and second since joining the White Sox in a trade from Boston last month. This one went to right field.
``The home run, I thought I made a pretty good pitch. I busted him in, came back away. It was a little bit up, but it was off the plate. He went out and got it,' Harrison said.
``Sinker. It was away. It might have been a little bit above the knees, but it was a good pitch.'
Quintana stayed cool, as he has since being called up from the minors after pitching most of the first two months at Double-A. He's 3-0 in his last five starts and has dropped his ERA to 2.04.
``He has a great feel on the mound, great stuff. He's more mature than you would think,' Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. ``We're lucky in the situation we're in with Johnny going down; he was there to pick it up and pitch the way he has.'
NOTES: Rangers RHP Yu Darvish won the Final Vote from the fans and will represent the AL in Tuesday's All-Star game, giving Texas eight All-Stars. Chicago's Jake Peavy was also a finalist. ... Announced attendance was 21,288 and many of the fans in the upper deck sat under the overhang to stay in the shade. ... Rangers RHP Neftali Feliz (elbow ligament sprain) and Koji Uehara (strained right lat) are scheduled to throw bullpen sessions Friday.
The Associated Press News Service
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