Darvish lights out in 2-0 shutout of Washington

Darvish lights out in 2-0 shutout of Washington

Credit: Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 1, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

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by KATY CLARKE

WFAA Sports

Posted on June 1, 2014 at 4:16 PM

 With Yu Darvish on the mound, a little run support was all the Rangers needed, avoiding a sweep in the Capital with a 2-0 victory over the Washington Nationals, and earning their league leading eleventh shutout this season. 

Darvish threw eight shutout innings, and tied his season high with 12 strikeouts. It was the fourth game this year that Darvish was able to shutout an opponent, and he was back to his usual ace self after missing a start with neck stiffness. After scoring a combined 19 runs off the Rangers in the past two days, the Nationals struggled with Darvish, who gave up five hits for the day. You could say that the Nats sluggers were simply in awe of Darvish, as most were facing him for the first time.

“He was outstanding out there today and we certainly need him to be” said manager Ron Washington.  “We needed him to do exactly what he did, keep those guys at bay until we broke through.”

A solo home run from Leonys Martin put the Rangers on the board in the seventh, and an insurance run came in the eighth off a RBI single from Donnie Murphy. Sunday’s game was the first time in Murphy’s career that he played first base, but he made no mistakes and had three hits along the way.

“I guess going over to first base put that offensive threat in me” said Murphy. “With the pitcher’s duel that was going on, I wanted to give us one more run for some cushion and it worked out.”

The Rangers had another run momentarily in the first, before the first double challenge in history erased the call. Alex Rios was caught stealing second for the final out of the first, and Elvis Andrus ran home and was originally given a run. However, the Nationals challenged the call that Andrus made it home before Rios was tagged, and the Rangers challenged the call that Rios was out at second. In the end, the Nationals won their challenge, the Rangers lost theirs, and the inning was over with no runs scored.

Sunday’s victory capped off an 11 game road trip where the Rangers posted a 7-4 record and narrowed Oakland’s lead for the division title. The Rangers now return to Globe Life Park for a nine-game homestand, carrying the momentum that comes with a successful trip on the road.

“You don’t want to go home after being swept, especially with the road trip we had” said Murphy.  “It’s nice to get the W and go home, have a day off to relax, and then get rolling again.”

The Rangers have Monday off before taking on the Orioles Tuesday. Game time is slated for 7:05 p.m. CT.

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