Yu Darvish returns to send Rangers past Yankees

Posted Monday, Jul. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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On any other night, the performance turned in by Yu Darvish as he returned from the disabled list would rate as the biggest development for the Texas Rangers.

Instead, Matt Garza was casting a shadow over the pitching mound at Rangers Ballpark on Monday, and he was 900 miles away in Phoenix getting ready to hop a plane to join his new team.

But a healthy, effective Darvish is just as big of a piece to the Rangers’ pitching puzzle for the stretch run, and he looked the part over 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory over New York.

With Alexi Ogando slated to return Tuesday, the Rangers’ rotation on paper will look as good as it has all season. With Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis also on the mend, things are looking up on the mound.

“If we get all our guys healthy, which we’re starting to, that’s five pretty good starters,” left fielder David Murphy said. “If we can get our offense in gear, I really like our odds.”

Darvish (9-4) took a no-hitter into the fifth inning as the Rangers snapped a four-game losing streak. He left after allowing his second hit and a walk with one out in the seventh at only 90 pitches and with a season-low four strikeouts.

Though Darvish had thrown 60 of his 90 pitches for strikes, manager Ron Washington didn’t want to extend him after a 15-day break and on a steamy day. Darvish admitted some surprise at getting the hook but said he was grateful for the consideration.

“It was a little bit earlier than I thought,” said Darvish, who was reinstated from the disabled list after dealing with some fatigue. “But Wash was thinking about my body and how I felt, so I really appreciate what he did.”

Robbie Ross took care of the Yankees’ only threat by getting an inning-ending double play. Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan worked a scoreless inning apiece to keep the Rangers’ bullpen rolling.

The relievers have allowed only one run in their past 37 1/3 innings.

“I feel like if we can get on the other side of the sixth inning, we’ve got a good chance every night,” Washington said.

The offense, meanwhile, has struggled with runners in scoring position and scoring with two outs. But all three of their runs came with two outs, and two were produced on hits with a runner in scoring position.

Adrian Beltre started the scoring with a single in the first to score Ian Kinsler, who had stolen second base. It was only the 25th first-inning run for the Rangers this season, the fewest in the majors, but they are 15-2 when they score in the first inning.

“It feels good, a lot better than [Sunday],” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “We’re glad to finally score in the first inning and get a lot of opportunities and chances to win games every time we score first.”

Geovany Soto made it 2-0 in the sixth with a double off Ivan Nova (4-3), and Nelson Cruz swatted his team-leading 23rd homer an inning later.

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

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