Brandon Wade/Associated Press
ARLINGTON, Texas — Matt Harrison wanted to stay in the game, pleading his case in the dugout that he felt OK.
The Texas Rangers weren’t taking any chances with the left-hander who keeps winning for them and is in line for a spot on the AL All-Star team that will be led by his own manager.
Harrison worked five scoreless innings and matched the American League lead with his 10th victory in the Rangers’ 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday night. His outing was cut short only because of tightness in his lower back that caused soreness in his left hip.
“It was no big deal,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He will make his next start. There’s no assumption.”
When Harrison (10-3) got to the dugout after the fifth, he huddled with Washington, pitching coach Mike Maddux and a trainer. He said there was no pain, though he first felt the tightness warming up for the third.
“I ended up telling them what was going on, and they decided to be cautious with it,” Harrison said. “Go ahead and shut it down and make sure I’m ready for my next start and not go out there and blow out anything.”
Harrison has one more scheduled start before the full All-Star rosters, including the manager’s picks, will be announced next Sunday.
“The All-Star game will take care of itself,” said Washington, who then repeated the same sentiment of Harrison that the lefty is only focused on his starts for Texas.
Leonys Martin had his first three RBIs in the majors on a pair of two-out hits. The Cuban defector, who signed with the Rangers last year, had an RBI double in the second and a two-run triple an inning later.
Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Mike Adams each pitched a scoreless inning for the Rangers. Joe Nathan, the closer pitching in a non-save situation, gave up his first runs in 17 appearances since May 13 in a strange inning.
Colorado loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth before an RBI single by Marco Scutaro. Carlos Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly, a deep fly that left fielder Josh Hamilton caught in the gap on the warning track.
But Scutaro then got caught in a rundown after a pitch ricocheted away from catcher Mike Napoli. Though Scutaro slid into second base under the tag and was ruled safe, he popped off the base and was tagged out by shortstop Elvis Andrus for the second out. Jason Giambi then ended the game by striking out.
“I saw the umpire signal safe, and he popped up and went back toward first,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “I don’t know why he did that.”
Texas finished a major league-best 14-4 in interleague play, winning all six of its series against National League teams.
Alex White (2-6) lost his third consecutive decision for the Rockies, who were 2-13 against the American League. The righty allowed four runs and six hits on 78 pitches over 2 2/3 innings.
Colorado, which ended its longest road trip of the season 3-6, had runners on in each of its five innings against Harrison. The Rockies also had someone reach against each reliever.
Wilin Rosario had an inning-ending grounder after the Rockies had two singles in the first, then they left the bases loaded in the second when Scutaro grounded out. Harrison benefited from three double plays and faced the minimum nine batters over his last three innings.
Harrison gave up five singles and threw 49 of his 74 pitches for strikes. He struck out three, walked two and hit a batter.
“I didn’t really have my best stuff working (Sunday), but I just kept telling myself with guys on base, you’re one quality pitch away from getting out of it,” Harrison said. “I’m not very happy about being the five-and-dive guy (Sunday), but with that situation I had to come out.”
Harrison was examined by team physician Dr. Keith Meister and will be evaluated further over the next couple of days.
Martin made his third start and played his fourth game this season since getting recalled from Triple-A Round Rock on June 15 when Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton was hospitalized with an intestinal virus.
Martin signed a $15.5 million, five-year contract in May 2011, and played in eight games for the Rangers over the final month of the regular season. He was hitting .344 in 31 games at Round Rock before getting called up this month.
Nelson Cruz had a leadoff walk in the second before No. 9 batter Martin doubled off the right-center field wall. Martin scored on a double by Elvis Andrus, who finished with three hits and walked once.
“I studied the pitcher a lot. The two pitches he left in on me, and I was able to hit it,” Martin said. “The longer I play here, the more I feel comfortable. ... What I did (Sunday) was concentrate.”
The Rockies have gone 17 games since a starting pitcher won a game for them. They are halfway through the first time through the rotation since Tracy’s decision a week ago to go to a four-man rotation.
Jeremy Guthrie, the starter whose unexpected struggles led to Tracy trying four starters, pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of White.