His team had flown overnight to get home for what registered as its biggest series to date, while he had been sent ahead to prepare.
So a little rain, or even a lot of it, wasn't going to stand in the way of Yu Darvish doing his job and giving the Texas Rangers a big boost Friday night against division-rival Anaheim.
The right-hander tossed 5 1/3 innings, all but an inning of which came after a 116-minute rain delay, and Josh Hamilton hit two more home runs as the Rangers rolled 10-3.
A downpour only 26 minutes into the game spoiled the anticipated matchup between Darvish and former Rangers left-hander C.J. Wilson, but Darvish didn't disappoint.
“I was proud of him coming back out there and sticking it out, doing what he's got to do,” Hamilton said. “That says a lot to his teammates about him as a player and a competitor to go back out and do that.”
Wilson, who didn't return after the rain delay, will pitch Saturday. He surrendered three infield hits, a walk and a run while throwing only 22 pitches before the game was halted for 1 hour, 56 minutes.
The Rangers held a 1-0 lead and had the bases loaded when the game resumed, and Nelson Cruz kept the rally going with a two-run single on the first pitch from Jerome Williams.
The Rangers tacked on three more to hand Darvish a 6-0 lead. Four of the runs were charged to Wilson (4-3).Hamilton homered in the second for a 7-0 lead and hit another solo shot in the fourth to give him 17 homers on the season and eight this week.
It was plenty of support for Darvish, who had pitched around a one-out single in the first.
Darvish said that his stuff was better after the delay. He said the ball felt better leaving his hand, and he sensed that his velocity had picked up.
He allowed only two hits after the game resumed, but both were home runs.
Mike Trout got him for a two-run shot in the third, and Torii Hunter hit a solo blast in the sixth. Darvish would be removed two batters later after 93 pitches, three walks and seven strikeouts.
But he threw frequently during the delay, heading to the batting cage under Rangers Ballpark every 15 minutes to throw.
“It was a long delay, so I think me going 5 1/3 innings, I did the job,” Darvish said. “No matter what time or how long the delay was, I kept myself ready to keep pitching. I know they had a long day [Thursday] and they came in really late, so all I thought was get a lot of outs.”
Manager Ron Washington said that he and his staff consulted with Darvish's trainer and massage therapist about sending him back out. Darvish, said Washington, insisted that he was up to the task.
After determining there was no risk, the Rangers stuck with Darvish rather than go to long reliever Scott Feldman.
“It worked out,” Washington said. “I liked his guts. He knew we got in late last night. He was the freshest guy out there on the field. It was his turn to pitch, and he wanted to pitch.”
The Rangers survived a first-inning scare when catcher Yorvit Torrealba was struck near the left temple by Albert Pujols' bat as he finished his swing. Torrealba stayed in the game, but didn't return after the delay.
Washington said the move was precautionary, and Torrealba said afterward that he passed all the concussion tests.