Yu Darvish strikes out 14 as Rangers complete sweep of Red Sox
The Associated Press
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish
pumped his fist coming off the mound after the last of his 127 pitches,
ending the seventh inning with his 14th strikeout against Boston.
"Unbelievable, unbelievable," Adrian Beltre said. "He was incredible. He's been doing it all year."Darvish
matched his career high for strikeouts before leaving a tie game, and
Beltre had an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning as the
Rangers won 4-3 Sunday, completing a three-game sweep and matching the
Red Sox for the best record in the majors.
Beltre reached down and out over the plate to line a hit to right-center off Clayton Mortensen (0-2). That sent home Elvis Andrus, who had reached on a two-out bloop single and moved up on a wild pitch before the Red Sox opted to intentionally walk Lance Berkman and bring Beltre to the plate."We showed a lot of heart right there," Andrus said.
"That shows for us how good we are right now."The Rangers, Red Sox and St. Louis all have 20-11 marks. Boston has its first three-game losing streak this season.While
Darvish had 14 strikeouts for the second time this season, the
right-hander from Japan allowed multiple homers in a game for only the
second time in his 36 starts for the Rangers.
David Ortiz and David Ross homered in the first two innings."After
I gave up those runs, I told myself I was only a couple of runs behind.
I was trying to stay focused and not dwell on what had happened,"
Darvish said through his translator.Rangers closer Joe Nathan (1-0), the third reliever, worked around a walk and a hit in the ninth.The
game was 3-3 when Darvish threw the last of 78 strikes among a
career-high pitches thrown, denying him a chance at his sixth victory to
equal the most in the majors.
He did up his majors-best strikeout
total to 72, and was still throwing in the mid-90s before punctuating
his exit with consecutive strikeouts with a runner on base.Darvish was already at 105 pitches after striking out Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz and Mike Napoli in order in the sixth inning. But there was still nobody warming up in the Texas bullpen at that point."He'll
get pushed, today was one of those days," manager Ron Washington said.
"He gave us 120-something pitches, because we needed it out of him, and
he was able to give it to us. ... You had two of the best pitchers in
the game out there. I don't know what Darvish would have done to me if I
would have taken him out of the game."Red Sox left-handed starter Jon Lester, with a 4-0 record, also got a no decision after seven strikeouts in six innings.
Like Darvish, he was hurt by two home runs."I
felt good. I felt like I had good stuff, I just made two mistakes,"
said Lester, who was impressed by Darvish. "It's been a while since
we've seen him. You can tell he feels a lot more comfortable."The Rangers got on the board in the third on Mitch Moreland's fourth homer, an opposite-field shot that landed only a couple of rows into the left-field seats -- and just inside the pole.Nelson Cruz hit his seventh homer, a two-run shot to center after Beltre's single, to tie the game in the sixth.Darvish's
other 14-strikeout game came in his first start this season, when he
retired the first 26 Houston batters and was within one out of a perfect
game before giving up a single April 2.
The last time an American
League pitcher had multiple 14-K games in a season was 2000, when Pedro Martinez had three and Mike Mussina two.After
going his first 37 2/3 innings this season without giving up a long
ball, Darvish gave up homers in three consecutive innings. He allowed a
homer in his final frame against the Chicago White Sox his previous start Tuesday night.Ortiz
extended the longest hitting streak in the majors to 25 games,
including all 13 of his games this season for Boston, when he pulled a
pitch deep into the right-field stands for a two-run shot in the first.
An inning later, Ross homered on hanging breaking ball over the middle
of the plate."Not many people are as good as I am," Ross said, with a chuckle. "I just close my eyes and swing hard. That's my approach."