Ron Washington called it random. Yu Darvish doesn’t know the reasons behind it, either, and said he isn’t going to dwell on it.
But Darvish is frustrated by it. Very frustrated, he said, because it happened for a third consecutive start Friday on a night that started with him flirting with another no-hit bid.
Darvish was on the mound once again with the Texas Rangers leading or tied after the fifth inning, but the team wound up losing once again. Darvish gave up a pair of home runs in the seventh inning to lose his no-hitter and the Rangers’ lead, and the Minnesota Twins held on for a 3-2 victory at Rangers Ballpark.
The Rangers lost for only the third time in the last 10 games, but it came against a team that was 18 games under .500 and whose starter had a career record of 1-12 with a 5.79 ERA.
Darvish placed the loss on his shoulders for his struggles in the seventh.
“When I gave up those home runs, it changed the whole momentum of the game,” he said. “I take the blame.”
Up until that point, Darvish had pitched a gem, taking a no-hitter past the sixth inning for the third time this season. He had faced the minimum through six innings, issuing only a leadoff walk in the second but erasing it by inducing a double-play grounder in the next at-bat.
Darvish had 10 strikeouts through six, including five straight. He got Trevor Plouffe to whiff well ahead of a slow curve to end the fifth, and then struck out the side in the sixth.
The tide turned quickly in the seventh, though.
Brian Dozier led off by drawing a five-pitch walk, and then Chris Herrmann turned on a 2-0 cutter in the zone and sent it over the right-field fence to tie the game at 2-2. Herrmann joins the Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Corporan as players who broke up Darvish no-hit bids this season.
The next batter, Justin Morneau, sent a hanging breaking pitch over the right-field fence to give the Twins a 3-2 lead, something their bullpen didn’t surrender.
“Physically, I felt fine,” Darvish said. “In that situation in the seventh inning, I told myself, ‘I can’t allow a home run.’ As soon as I told myself that, you know what happened.”
Said catcher A.J. Pierzynski: “He made two mistakes and they didn’t miss them.”
The troubling part is that Darvish has run into similar struggles his previous two starts. He gave up a two-run game-tying homer to Adam Dunn in the sixth inning in his previous start against the White Sox on Saturday, a half-inning after the Rangers’ had taken a 2-0 lead.
And, on Aug. 18 against Seattle, the Rangers tied the game in the fifth only to see Darvish give up the lead again in the sixth.
“Yeah, I’m very frustrated,” Darvish said. “Being in professional baseball, you have those years where it just doesn’t work out and you give up home runs. But there are some years that it doesn’t happen, so I think the best thing is to not dwell on these failures and just keep going and keep the same approach.”
The offense didn’t do much to help Darvish out. The Rangers managed only two runs in six innings against Twins right-hander Liam Hendriks. Jurickson Profar had a solo homer in the third, and Ian Kinsler scored in the fourth on a groundout by Pierzynski.
They had another chance in the fourth with two-on and two-out, but Dozier, the Twins second baseman, made a nice play on a sharp grounder by Mitch Moreland to end the threat.
“They made some good plays defensively,” Moreland said. “We had some opportunities and it didn’t go our way. The ball didn’t fall, but that’s part of the game.”
The Rangers squandered another opportunity in the seventh after the Twins had taken the 3-2 lead. Pinch hitter Craig Gentry had a one-out triple off Brian Duensing, but Leonys Martin and Elvis Andrus each grounded out without getting the run home.
“The only thing we’re upset about is we didn’t win the ballgame,” Washington said.