Yu Darvish remains hot with 10th victory
06/26/2012 11:42 PM
03/24/2013 1:08 AM
ARLINGTON -- Mother Nature provided for Yu Darvish on Tuesday night the one test -- blazing Texas heat -- that many have debated if he could handle.
The game-time temperature was 103. The right-hander walked a man, hit another and gave up two runs in the first inning as he worked deliberately to a powerful Detroit lineup.
But Darvish found a way to handle both as the game moved on and the thermometer dipped only slightly. It was another test passed for the right-hander from Japan.
"It was 103 degrees, but my teammates tell me it's not as hot as it's going to get," Darvish said. "It was hot, but I wasn't overwhelmed by it."
His next big test could be the All-Star Game.
Darvish allowed four runs and struck out 10 in seven innings, and Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton each launched a solo homer as the Rangers rallied for a 7-5 victory.
Darvish (10-3) issued four hits and one walk to improve to 7-0 at home and to match teammate Matt Harrison and Tampa Bay left-hander David Price for the league lead in victories.
It was Darvish's fourth game with at least 10 strikeouts, matching R.A. Dickey for the most in the majors. Darvish has 106 strikeouts, and his ERA is a respectable 3.57.
He has All-Star numbers, but another league-leading stat has him uncertain about how he will be spending July 10.
"You mentioned those numbers and where I'm at, but I think I also lead the league in walks," said Darvish, who has an AL-high 50 free passes. "I can't confidently say that I should be an All-Star."
Control problems bit him in the first as he walked Austin Jackson to start the game and hit Miguel Cabrera in the head with one out. Prince Fielder followed with a double to left-center to plate both runners.
It was the third consecutive game in which Darvish struggled in either the first or second inning, and the second game in a row in which he settled in for a strong finish.
He allowed only two hits over his final six innings, recording nine strikeouts.
"I think something about the first inning, he probably wasn't feeling too good out there and started overthrowing a little bit," catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. "It's hard to slow him down. After the first inning, he made an adjustment and made some pitches."
Kinsler responded in the Rangers' half with the 23rd leadoff homer of his career, but Fielder negated that with a solo shot to start the fourth.
The Rangers, though, came up with four in the home half to jump into a 5-3 lead. A hit by Adrian Beltre and a throwing error by Drew Smyly (2-3) got the rally going, and Michael Young brought in Beltre with a triple to left-center.
Nelson Cruz followed with a blooper to right, and Torrealba did the same two batters later as Cruz slid home just ahead of Alex Avila's tag.
Brandon Snyder made it consecutive RBI singles with a liner to center to score Torrealba.
The clubs exchanged runs in the fifth, with Elvis Andrus scoring for the Rangers on a wild pitch, and Darvish worked perfect innings in the sixth and seventh before Hamilton started the Rangers' seventh with his 24th homer of the year.
Darvish, who also beat Detroit on April 19, was done after throwing 113 pitches/72 strikes. Mike Adams had to dodge Cabrera and Fielder batting as the tying run in the eighth, and Joe Nathan worked an easy ninth for his 17th save.
Nathan and Darvish both have the credentials to be All-Stars. They'll find out Sunday, when the rosters are revealed. Darvish said he just doesn't know about his chances, but at least he knows he can handle the Texas heat.