An unbeatable combination for the Texas Rangers — another 10-strikeout game by Yu Darvish and finally a big inning for their hitters.
Darvish had his 10th career 10-strikeout game, in his 33rd start in the major leagues, and the Rangers had a six-run inning that doubled their previous highest-scoring frame of the year in a 7-0 win over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
“We know what we’re capable of as an offense. You can’t do that every night,” said Ian Kinsler, whose RBI double capped that breakthrough inning. “That was big for Yu, and big for our club. I think we all want to get it going earlier.”
The way Darvish (3-1) pitched, Jeff Baker’s two-out solo homer in the second off Joe Saunders (1-2) would have been more than enough for the Rangers, whose seven runs overall matched a season high.
In his first start in a week, Darvish allowed only three hits and walked three over seven scoreless innings.
Darvish had last started the previous Friday night at Seattle, when he gave up three runs in the first inning of a 3-1 loss. The Rangers had planned in advance to skip the Japanese ace’s scheduled start at the Chicago Cubs because of the cool weather — and the game that would have been his turn to pitch ended up being rained out anyway.
“I don’t know if that many days of rest affected my pitching,” Darvish said through his translator. “But I’d rather have pitched today than yesterday in cold weather in Chicago.”
Seattle, the only team that has beaten Darvish three times, has now gone 12 innings in a row without a run against right-hander from Japan.
“He threw more curveballs than he did in Seattle. He also threw more fastballs. He didn’t a really good fastball (in Seattle). Tonight, he threw a lot more for strikes,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “Yu has so many pitches and they’re all good. It’s hard to pick one.”
Darvish said he finally got command of his fastball after the second inning, after he already had six strikeouts, and had a different style than his previous start against the Mariners. He threw 42 pitches those first two innings, with two walks and a single scattered between all the whiffs.