Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish didn’t flirt with a perfect game in his first start of the 2014 season, but he sure looked pretty perfect. After spending most of the first week on the DL due to a spring training stiff neck, Darvish shut out Tampa Bay for seven innings in a 3-0 Rangers win. Darvish left the game after seven innings, but was beneficiary of Elvis Andrus’ two-out eighth inning home run that gave the Rangers the lead. It made Darvish a winner. Darvish promised this spring to be more aggressive with his fastball and to be more efficient with his pitch count and he accomplished that in his debut. He needed just 89 pitches to work through seven innings. It was only the third time in his career, he got through six or more innings on fewer than 90 pitches. Darvish threw 65 of his 89 pitches for strikes, a remarkable 73 percent. He set the tone for the game by throwing first pitch strikes to the first eight batters and throwing strikes on 22 of his 25 pitches through the first two innings. He threw 13 straight strikes to end the first and in the second. Still, Darvish, who battled poor run support last year, was in danger of getting no decision before the Rangers cobbled together a two-out rally against reliever Joel Peralta in the eighth. Shin-Soo Choo singled to cap a seven-pitch at-bat and then Andrus homered on a full-count pitch The arms: RHP Yu Darvish’s two strikeouts in the first inning pushed him to 500 for his career, giving him the fewest innings pitched to reach 500 by a starter. He had 401.2 when he reached 500. … Darvish threw first-pitch strikes to the first eight hitters and had 22 strikes in 25 pitches through the first two innings, including 13 consecutive strikes at one point. … After RHP Alexi Ogando walked the tying run with two outs in the eighth, LHP Neal Cotts struck out Matt Joyce on a full-count slider to end the rally. … Darvish held Tampa Bay hitless for 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Yu Darvish dominant as Texas Rangers beat Tampa Bay 3-0
Dallas Morning News | Apr 7