Yu not smooth, but Texas Rangers' bats, bullpen are
04/15/2012 12:11 AM
03/24/2013 1:08 AM
MINNEAPOLIS -- Expectations run rampant when Yu Darvish takes the mound, but those expectations have not been met after his first two major league starts.
So, a little honesty and humility were offered Saturday by the right-hander from Japan, who was the starting pitcher but not the pitcher of record after the Texas Rangers won their third straight game, 6-2.
Darvish has some learning to do, just as he expected he would when he agreed to a contract with the Rangers in January.
"I'm still going through the process of adjusting to the team, adjusting to the culture over here and adjusting to the baseball," he said. "If I was to come over here with no problems, no worries and just go smoothly and put up the same numbers, that would be almost like I'm a genius."
Some of the numbers in Darvish' final line -- like the nine hits, four walks, four strikeouts and a hit batter -- weren't any better than what he did against Seattle in his debut, and the Twins had 14 base runners over the same 52/3-inning span in which 13 Mariners hitters reached base against him Monday.
But Minnesota could score only two runs (one earned) against Darvish, three fewer than Seattle, and he made key pitches and even a key play.
"That's what good pitchers do. They get in jams, and then you judge them by how they get out of them," manager Ron Washington said. "... It's certainly moving in the right direction."
Darvish again needed some backup, and he got a big lift from rookie Robbie Ross. The left-hander inherited a bases-loaded jam in the sixth but retired former MVP Justin Morneau.
The Rangers then scored two runs in the seventh on two-out singles by Adrian Beltre and Michael Young, and tacked on two more in the ninth to push their record to an AL-best 7-2.
Beltre drove in three runs, scored the 1,000th run of his career, and was one of four Rangers with three hits. Josh Hamilton had a towering homer and two doubles, and Nelson Cruz and Brandon Snyder were also in the three-hit club.
The late runs gave Ross his first big league victory, which he earned for getting the biggest out of the game.
"I was more nervous in that situation than I was in my big league debut," Ross said.
Darvish wasn't as nervous as he was Monday, said his teammates. He worked around a two-out single to complete the first inning in 15 pitches, 27 fewer than the first inning against Seattle.
The Twins saw a chance disappear in the fourth, when Ryan Doumit tried to score from third on a passed ball. Catcher Mike Napoli scrambled to the ball and flipped to Darvish, who applied the tag while tumbling to the ground.
"I tried to get on the third-base side of the plate, so if worse came to worst, even if there was a collision, it would have been an even match," Darvish said. "I felt like if I caught the ball, I had a chance to get him out."
Doumit struck out with the bases loaded to end the fifth, but Denard Span made it 2-2 with a double in the sixth. Darvish would hit Jamey Carroll and walk Joe Mauer before getting the hook after 102 pitches.
"Not knowing the hitters and not knowing the teams I think is the most difficult part right now," Darvish said. "If I could learn after I pitch to those guys and get a photographic memory and record it in my mind, it'll get much better as the season goes along."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760
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