May 16, 2012

Darvish allows A's only four hits in Rangers' win

Yu Darvish finds more ways to impress, this time for 7 2/3 innings.

ARLINGTON -- The last time Yu Darvish had taken the mound, he wowed a sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark by enduring a 116-minute rain delay to beat the team expected to compete with the Texas Rangers for the American League West title.

On Wednesday, against the team actually closest to the Rangers in the division race, the right-hander continued his remarkable early success in his first season in the majors.

Darvish allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings, and Adrian Beltre homered during a four-run fourth inning as the Rangers beat Oakland 4-1 and snapped a two-game losing streak.

In eight starts this season, perhaps 25 percent of what he will log by October, Darvish has found a new way to impress each time out.

"I just think you've got to wait until each start and see where it goes," manager Ron Washington said. "I think he's doing exactly as advertised. He's going out there, and he's keeping his team in the ballgame.

"He was very efficient tonight, more than he's been in the past. He loaded up the strike zone, and that's what he had to do. Make them swing the bat, because if you start putting those guys on the bag, they find ways to get things done."

Darvish trailed 1-0 after Jemile Weeks started the game with a double down the left-field line and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Josh Reddick.

But Darvish (6-1) would surrender only two more hits and a walk to the worst-hitting team in the AL over the next six innings.

He retired 11 of 12 from the fourth through the seventh before Daric Barton opened the eighth with an eight-pitch at-bat that resulted in a walk. Darvish got the next two A's, but a Weeks single brought Washington out of the dugout and Mike Adams in from the bullpen.

Darvish logged 118 pitches in his first start since Friday, when he worked both ends of a two-hour rain delay. But there were no lingering effects from the heavy workload last week.

"There was nothing different from my preparation from previous starts," said Darvish, who struck out seven while running his record at Rangers Ballpark to 4-0. "I was able to rest the four days in between starts and also prepare as usual."

A's left-hander Tommy Milone didn't pitch poorly, but he didn't get a ton of support defensively. Texas collected five infield hits, a couple of which could have been outs, and had three in the fourth inning.

Josh Hamilton started the rally with a weak grounder toward Weeks that was scored a single, and Beltre hit the next pitch into the right-field seats for his seventh homer of the season.

Nelson Cruz followed with another infield hit, and the Rangers had runners at second and third with two outs when Craig Gentry sent a chopper to third base.

But Josh Donaldson double-pumped and his throw was late as Cruz scored.

"I don't know how they could have forgotten he can run like that," Washington said. "You can't play with the ball when Gentry puts it in play."

Gentry said, "I didn't think there'd be any chance that I could beat it out, but I'm just hustling down the line hoping something happens. Luckily, it did."

Elvis Andrus capped the rally with a single to left field that scored Yorvit Torrealba and gave Darvish a 4-1 lead he wouldn't surrender with a mix of fastballs, changeups and curveballs that kept Oakland's struggling lineup at bay.

"Tonight, whether my command was good or bad, I already had a different plan of attack," he said. "Torrealba did a good job calling the game. He and I were on the same page."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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