Rangers Fall to Giants 8-5

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Rangers pitcher Rich Harden.

    Despite allowing five runs, Texas Rangers starter Rich Harden was pleased with his performance Monday night.

    "It's the best I've thrown in a while," said Harden, who allowed the runs in 3 2/3 innings of the Rangers' 8-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants. "I was throwing strong so it's just a matter of working on the conditioning."

    Harden gave up the five runs and five hits, including Fred Lewis' two-run, first-inning home run behind the Rangers' right-field bullpen. The right-hander had allowed four runs and two hits and three walks in his last outing, a 2 2/3-inning stint against Oakland.

    "He got a couple balls up in the zone and they hit them," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "But we got him up to 80 pitches, which is good. Now we just need him to get those 80 pitches and get us five (innings)."

    More important to Harden than the results is health, given his history of trips to the disabled list.

    "There are no questions in my mind," said Harden, who along with Scott Feldman is expected to anchor the Rangers' rotation. "I'm healthy, I'm strong and I'm coming into camp a lot stronger than I've been in a while."

    Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton left the game in the third inning after he was hit on the top of the left hand by Giants starter Madison Bumgarner.

    X-rays of Hamilton's hand were negative and he'll be evaluated Tuesday morning.

    "Somebody's out to get me," Hamilton said with a wry smile. "Watch out, boys. Don't stand too close."

    Hamilton was on an 8 for 17 run, including his first home run Sunday, after missing several days of camp with a left shoulder contusion.

    "I'm ready to roll," Hamilton said. "Like I said before, it's a matter of me being smarter about these things."

    Bumgarner allowed three runs and three hits with three walks and the hit batter. He's considered a long shot to earn a spot in the Giants' rotation.

    "Fighting for a job isn't as important as getting ready for the season and being ready when the season starts, no matter where that may be," Bumgarner said.

    Among the three hits Bumgarner allowed were Nelson Cruz's first home run of the spring onto the grass batters' eye above the center-field fence.

    "It was a fastball I got up and he hit it about 500 feet," Bumgarner said.