KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 4: Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on September 4, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Matt Harrison's first career Opening Day start didn't go as he'd hoped.
Harrison struggled to get out of the sixth inning, failed in doing so, and left the game with a 4-2 deficit to what is supposed to be baseball's worst team this year as the Houston Astros ended up going on to beat the Rangers 8-2.
Harrison did tie a career-high with nine strikeouts and was settled into a pitching duel for the first few innings, dazzling Astros hitters as expected. But his control went away at times, most notably in that sixth inning when he walked two of his three batters, both of which came into score on Rick Ankiel's three-run homer allowed by Derek Lowe.
Harrison wasn't helped by his defense as Nelson Cruz had a key error that allowed a run and bobbled another ball, while Ian Kinsler also had some struggles holding on to the ball a couple of times.
But ultimately, Harrison said, his lack of control was what did him in.
"It was just a matter of not executing the pitches, especially in the at-bats to Wallace and Pena," Harrison told ESPN Dallas. "They were being very aggressive, all the guys were. I felt if I just executed the pitches better, maybe farther down in the zone, I might have got some swings and misses or weaker contact. I just have to do a better job of executing pitches when I have to."