ANAHEIM -- Matt Harrison didn't have his good sinker, and he didn't have a feel for his changeup. One inning, he couldn't get the ball inside, and the next, he couldn't get it on the outside corner.
One sinker would bite down, the next would run over the plate. Harrison even tried working out of the stretch with nobody on base, but that was rare, considering 13 of the 26 batters he faced reached, on 10 hits and three walks.
Harrison, in trying to explain it all, had one succinct observation.
"I was lucky I got out of there without giving up 10 runs," Harrison said.
He didn't. He only gave up three and, left with the game tied. But the night belonged to Angels rookie first baseman C.J. Cron, who had one big hit after another, and it was his broken-bat RBI single in the sixth off reliever Shawn Tolleson that sank the Rangers in a 5-3 loss on Saturday night.
Harrison did have a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the fifth, but he gave up a run-scoring single to Albert Pujols to tie the game. The killer was starting the inning by giving up singles to Grant Green and Collin Cowgill before having to go to work on Mike Trout and Pujols.
"Every inning, it seemed like the leadoff man was getting on base," Harrison said. "I was putting myself in position where I had to make perfect pitches. When you put guys on in front of Trout and Pujols, it makes it even harder."
Trout and Pujols, hitting in the Nos. 2 and 3 spots in the Angels' order, didn't do that much damage. They were 1-for-7 with three walks and the one RBI single. It was Howie Kendrick, in his 20th career game as a cleanup hitter, and Cron, making his Major League debut in the No. 5 spot after being called up earlier in the day, who punished the Rangers.
They were a combined 7-for-10 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Cron was only called up because third baseman David Freese went on the disabled list with a broken finger, although the Angels were looking for another right-handed bat.
"You have to give [Harrison] credit, he was out there fighting without his best stuff," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It was a battle for him the whole night. He was battling baserunners the whole time, but he only gave up one run at a time. When he left the game, we were still in it."
Cron had a two-out RBI single in the first to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. In the third, after Kendrick reached on a leadoff infield single, Cron followed with a drive to deep right-center that center fielder Leonys Martin caught up to but couldn't hold as he went into the wall. It went for a double, putting runners on second and third, and a grounder by Erick Aybar brought home a run.
"It hit off the end of my glove," Martin said. "Almost ... it was close."
Angels starter Garrett Richards, combining a 96-98-mph fastball with a sharp slider, looked in command until the fourth. Then the Rangers scored three after singles by Prince Fielder and Alex Rios leading off the inning put runners at the corners. Mitch Moreland's grounder to second forced Rios and allowed Fielder to score.
Donnie Murphy followed with a single to left. Richards struck out Martin, but run-scoring singles by Robinson Chirinos and Shin-Soo Choo gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead. But the Angels tied it up in the bottom of the inning.
"I felt pretty good, but I could never find my rhythm," Harrison said. "I was able to make some pitches in big spots, but overall, I was never able to get anything going."
Harrison left in the fifth after giving up a double, a walk and a sacrifice bunt, putting runners on second and third. Tolleson took over and kept the game tied by striking out Green and getting Cowgill to pop up.
Tolleson also started the sixth by striking out Trout and Pujols. But then came the Angels' dynamic duo. Kendrick doubled on a full-count pitch, and Cron hit a broken-bat single on a hanging inside slider to left to put the Angels ahead to stay.
"It was a slider that missed badly," Tolleson said. "It backed up so badly, I was surprised he swung at it. It was up and in."
Kendrick's fourth hit of the night, an RBI double off Alexi Ogando in the eighth, brought home the Angels' final run. The Rangers managed just three hits over the final five innings after the three-run fourth.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.