The spring heat Sunday afternoon wasn’t an issue for Yu Darvish, and neither was a mechanical flaw in his oft-changing delivery.
But something wasn’t right about the right-hander in his latest start.
The stomach ailment that sent has Derek Holland and Mike Napoli to the training room for intravenous fluids and extra doses of Pepto also latched onto Darvish at some point recently.
He hadn’t fully recovered by Sunday, but found that the best cure was another big day from the offense.
The Rangers scored seven runs in the second inning, and three players swatted homers to back Darvish and send the Rangers to a 12-6 victory that completed a three-game sweep of Toronto.
Darvish said that his back was stiff and sore because of his intestinal woes, but doesn’t expect to miss any time. He allowed three runs in five innings and won for the seventh time this season.
“Maybe I caught it from Napoli,” Darvish said. “It’s not like I look at it as an injury I feel very comfortable saying I should be able to treat this and nurse this and be strong for my next start.”
Darvish was removed after discussing his lower-back discomfort with the coaching staff. Manager Ron Washington said that had Darvish felt better, he would have returned for a sixth inning despite having thrown 93 pitches as he struggled with his command for a second straight start.
He walked three but struck out a season-low three. He also benefited from two nice defensive plays, one from left fielder David Murphy on a flyball in the second inning and another from second baseman Michael Young to start a double play in the fourth after the first three Blue Jays had reached.
Darvish (7-2) allowed five runs in four innings and walked six May 21 at Seattle.
“I felt physically better when I pitched in Seattle,” he said. “But today I think luck was more on my side. In the end, the team won. That’s the bottom line. If the team won, I’ll say I pitched better today.”
The offense gave him ample support by quickly solved Kyle Drabek, sending 11 batters to the plate in the second inning. His third walk of the inning brought in the first run, and Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus followed with consecutive two-run doubles for a 5-0 lead.
Adrian Beltre capped the big inning with a two-run homer.
Kinsler and Napoli would later add two-run homers, their first distance blows since April 24 and April 25. The Rangers hit 10 homers, scored 34 runs and collected 44 hits in the series.
“We expect to play well,” said Kinsler, who had four RBIs and scored twice. “We expect that kind of offense. I think it’s more surprising when we don’t perform that way.
“We don’t expect to score 15 or 12 runs every game, but we expect to have good offensive performances and work the opposing pitcher one through nine. That’s what we did this weekend, and we played well.”
The sweep was the Rangers’ third of the season but first at Rangers Ballpark, which had its fifth consecutive sellout crowd (46,647) and 16th of the season to surpass the 1 million fans at the fastest rate in club history.
They bumped their home record to 14-9 and become the first American League team to win 30 games this season. The Rangers lead second-place Anaheim by 6 ½ games in the AL West.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST