Texas Rangers

Yu Darvish’s second start turns into another Rangers victory

Adrian Beltre on giving Yu Darvish early lead and being proud of 573rd double

Adrian Beltre helped give Yu Darvish an early lead with a three-run homer in the first. He had a two-run double in the third to give him 573 for his career, 24th-most all-time (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).
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Adrian Beltre helped give Yu Darvish an early lead with a three-run homer in the first. He had a two-run double in the third to give him 573 for his career, 24th-most all-time (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

Start No. 2 of the Yu Darvish Comeback Tour on Friday night wasn’t the same smashing success as his 2016 debut was last week, or at least the numbers weren’t.

He admitted that he didn’t feel as good as he did six days earlier. He had to pitch differently, relying on his off-speed pitches more against a good fastball hitting team and a lineup that, even though he missed last season, had five hitters with at least 11 career major-league at-bats against him and two hitters who faced him in Japan.

But Darvish pitched deeper into the game and threw more pitches than he did last week. The fastball was there when he needed it, topping out a career-high 99 mph.

In the end, the start was a success where it mattered most.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister says that Yu Darvish had to rely more on off-speed pitches Friday against a Seattle team that feasts on fastballs (video by Jeff Wilson).

Darvish allowed three runs in 5  2/3 innings, and Adrian Beltre hit a three-run homer in the first inning and drove in five runs as the Texas Rangers opened a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners with a 7-3 victory.

“When I got off the mound, I was thinking, ‘Man, I gave up three runs,’ ” Darvish said. “But I got to the clubhouse and then I realized they have a good lineup and they’ve been scoring a lot of runs and they’re hitting well. So, I guess I pitched well. That’s how I felt.”

88 Pitches Friday for right-hander Yu Darvish in his second start since Tommy John surgery, seven more than in his debut

Darvish (2-0) threw 88 pitches, seven more than he did in five innings May 28 against Pittsburgh, and felt he could have gotten Da-Ho Lee to end the sixth when he saw manager Jeff Banister come to the mound to replace him.

Whereas last week Darvish said that he was mentally finished after five innings, he didn’t want to leave Friday.

Nomar Mazara went 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI on Friday as the Rangers' third hitter, a lineup switch that moved Prince Fielder to fifth (video by Jeff Wilson).

“I’ve got no problem with that,” Banister said. “When a supreme competitor is out on the mound and he’s batting, I get that. I like that. We want that. Believe me: He’s going to get those opportunities.”

Darvish allowed six hits and finished with five strikeouts, including buddy Norichika Aoki in a key spot in the fifth. Jurickson Profar followed with a diving stop on a Seth Smith liner to save a run and end the inning.

The only walk Darvish allowed turned into the Mariners’ first run in the third inning.

“In the first outing I was feeling a little better,” Darvish said. “But today I got the key outs when I needed. So, overall it went well.”

Darvish also pitched with an early lead thanks to the top of the lineup. The first four hitters combined to go 10 for 16 with three walks and seven runs, and they started early with Ian Desmond and Nomar Mazara reaching via a single and a walk with one out in the first.

Beltre was next, and he cleared the wall in left field for a 3-0 lead. He made it 5-1 in the third with a double after Desmond and Mazara opened with a single and a walk.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister continues to be impressed with Jurickson Profar, who homered again Friday (video by Jeff Wilson).

To give him run support, I know that can’t be a good feeling for the opponent when he’s sitting on a three-run lead.

Center fielder Ian Desmond on Yu Darvish

Leadoff man Profar got in the act in the fourth with a solo homer. He went 2 for 5, Desmond went 4 for 5, Mazara was 2 for 3 with an RBI in the sixth.

Each scored two runs.

“When this new stadium gets built, there will be a statue out front of Adrian on one knee, bat in the air, probably some ball 700 feet away,” Desmond said. “You don’t get to that position without being a pro, and he certainly showed it tonight why he’s been able to mount the numbers he has.”

Tony Barnette, Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson limited the Mariners to three hits over the final 3  1/3 innings as the Rangers won for the fifth time in their past six games and for the 10th time in their past 13 games.

The win gave them an early edge in a series featuring the top two teams in the American League West. The Rangers and weary Mariners, who didn’t arrive to the Metroplex until 4:30 Friday morning after a marathon Thursday night at San Diego, entered the game tied for the division lead.

“We’ve got great confidence,” Banister said. “They’re engaged. They believe that they’re in every single game, that they have a shot when the starting pitching gives them a chance to put runs on the board.”

Darvish did that Friday in his second start after Tommy John surgery.

Jurickson Profar says he understands the predicament the Rangers are in with Rougned Odor returning Saturday. He says it's for others to decide (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

Ian Desmond said Yu Darvish's stuff is so electric that he doesn't need an early lead but the three-run cushion in the first is a credit to Adrian Beltre and the offense (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

Adrian Beltre said the Rangers knew how talented Jurickson Profar was but that his stint filling in for Rougned Odor during his seven-game suspension exceeded expectations (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

Rangers vs Mariners

8:05 p.m. Saturday, FSSW

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