Rangers’ bats come up big for Darvish

Posted Wednesday, May. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information How Rangers hitters fared: A 3 for 3 game, all against left-handers, pushed Mitch Moreland’s average to a season-high .267. He is 7 for 17 against lefties in his past seven games. Adrian Beltre’s homer in the sixth snapped an 0 for 11 skid with runners in scoring position. How Rangers pitchers fared: Yu Darvish’s worst start of the season results in his fifth victory despite allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings. He said he struggled with his four-seam fastball, which was his best pitch last week at Anaheim. The solo homer Tanner Scheppers allowed in the seventh was the first run against him this season.

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Chicago made quick work of Yu Darvish’s scoreless-innings streak Tuesday night, and the right-hander had allowed a season-high four runs and four hits by the time he had thrown his 108th and final pitch.

The damage was relatively minimal for the heretofore otherworldly Darvish, but any damage entering the opener of a six-game homestand seemed to be too much for a struggling Texas Rangers offense to overcome.

But the hitters usually find a way to produce at Rangers Ballpark, and they did it when Darvish needed it most against the White Sox.

Adrian Beltre capped a six-run sixth inning with a two-run homer, and Darvish became the first Rangers pitcher in 15 years to win five times in April despite not being at his best in a 10-6 victory.

The outburst came on the heels of a sequence in which Darvish failed to touch first base on a potential inning-ending double play, and the next batter connected for the first homer against him this season to tie the game.

“I think it fired up our offense,” he said. “So, it ended up working out well.”

The game featured back-to-back homers by Nelson Cruz and Jeff Baker in the fourth and back-to-back run-scoring wild pitches in a three-pitch sequence that ended with Beltre’s fifth homer of the season.

Also featured was Darvish’s most ordinary outing of the season. He allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks in six innings, but improved to 5-1 and added nine strikeouts to give him a major-league-leading 58.

“He definitely seemed to be uncomfortable out there tonight, battling himself,” second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “But he was fighting and kept us in the game.”

A win, though, seemed unlikely after he allowed a game-tying homer to Wise in the sixth after whiffing at first base on a Hector Gimenez grounder the could have ended the inning with Rangers up 4-2.

The Rangers, though, feasted on the White Sox’s bullpen in their half of the inning, which started harmlessly enough with a Baker flyout. But Geovany Soto drew a walk, and Mitch Moreland doubled him home to break the 4-4 tie.

The inning looked like it might stall with Moreland at third after pinch-hitter Leonys Martin grounded out, but Kinsler singled for a 6-4 advantage and went to third as Elvis Andrus singled.

Lance Berkman walked to load the bases and set up a strange but entertaining sequence with Beltre at the plate.

Beltre fell behind 0-2 in the count to Nate Jones, Chicago’s third pitcher of the inning, and took a ball in the dirt. Jones’ next pitch, though, skipped away from Gimenez, allowing Kinsler to score.

Jones then uncorked another wild one to let Andrus scoot home. Jones’ next offering was a strike, albeit a hanging slider, and Beltre deposited it into the left-field seats for a 10-4 lead.

“It was kind of crazy, kind of different, but we’ll take it,” Beltre said. “That’s the game of baseball.”

All talk of the offensive sputters — they scored only eight runs in their four-game series at Minnesota — was met with rolling eyes inside the Rangers’ clubhouse.

“You’re going to have your bumps and bruises,” said Moreland, who went 3 for 3 against left-handed pitchers. “With this team, as consistent as we are with our pitching, with the personnel we have in here and the different ways we can win games, it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re going to take care of what we need to more times than not.”

The White Sox didn’t allow Darvish to add to his streak of 18 scoreless innings, posting two runs in the first inning. The rally was aided by Cruz’s inability to hang onto a Tyler Greene drive to right field that turned into a triple instead of the second out.

Alex Rios followed with a single and a stolen base, and Paul Konerko brought him home two batters later with a single to left.

The Rangers finally solved Jose Quintana in the fourth. The left-hander had allowed only two singles before Cruz and Baker homered with two outs.

Chicago’s defense helped the Rangers take a 4-2 lead an inning later. Greene threw wildly to first base while trying to turn a double play on Craig Gentry, who ended up at second and scored on a double by Kinsler.

Kinsler went to third on an error by left fielder Alejandro De Aza, which forced the White Sox to play the infield in. Andrus followed with an RBI single through the middle.

Even though Darvish coughed up the lead in the next inning, the Rangers and their struggling lineup bailed him out.

“I really couldn’t get into my rhythm from the beginnings, and it wasn’t a smooth outing,” Darvish said. “But I was able to keep us in the ballgame.”

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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