ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Yu Darvish struck out 10 while allowing only three hits over seven innings for Texas, and the Rangers had their biggest inning of the season in a 7-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
In his first start in a week, and 33rd in the major leagues, Darvish (3-1) had his 10th career 10-strikeout game.
Jeff Baker put Texas up 1-0 with a two-out solo homer in the second off Joe Saunders (1-2). The Rangers added a six-run fifth, scoring twice as many runs as they had in any inning this year. The seven runs overall matched their season high.
Darvish had last started the previous Friday night at Seattle, when he gave up three runs in the first inning of a 3-1 loss. The Rangers had planned in advance to skip the Japanese ace's scheduled start at the Chicago Cubs because of the cool weather — and the game that would have been his turn to pitch ended up being rained out anyway.
Seattle, the only team that has beaten Darvish three times, has now gone 12 innings in a row without a run against him.
The Mariners had 13 strikeouts overall, and have 44 their last three games. They had 19 strikeouts Wednesday against Detroit, and followed with 12 more on Thursday.
Robbie Ross got all three of his outs on strikeouts in his scoreless inning after relieving Darvish, even as Seattle loaded the bases.
Michael Kirkman pitched the ninth to close out the Rangers' third shutout of the season. Seattle was held scoreless for the first time this season.
In the AL wild-card playoff game at Texas last October, Saunders pitched into the sixth and won for the Baltimore Orioles in their 5-1 victory over Darvish. But the left-hander is now 0-7 with a 9.91 ERA in seven regular-season starts at Rangers Ballpark, the first six for the Los Angeles Angels.
Saunders allowed seven runs and nine hits over 4 2-3 innings this time. He walked three with no strikeouts and was gone after Craig Gentry's two-run triple in the fifth.
Darvish threw 42 pitches the first two innings when all six outs were strikeouts, with two walks and a single scattered between all the whiffs.
The first Seattle out not a strikeout came with speedy Endy Chavez leading off the third, when Darvish needed only 10 pitches. When Chavez tried to bunt for a hit, Darvish bounced off the mound for a barehanded grab of the ball in front of Gold Glove-winning third baseman Adrian Beltre and got Chavez out by a step.
The Rangers loaded the bases in the fifth on two singles and a walk before A.J. Pierzynski snapped a 4-for-25 skid with a two-run single. Another run scored when David Murphy grounded out before Gentry sent a drive that rolled to the wall after left fielder Raul Ibanez slipped and fell when trying to field the ball that then bounced over his head. Gentry scored when Ian Kinsler had an RBI double to greet reliever Hector Noesi.
NOTES: Texas, which lost 6-2 at Chicago on Thursday, and Atlanta are the only teams without consecutive losses this season. ... Seattle hasn't won consecutive games since starting the season 2-0. .. Murphy was mired in a 4-for-31 slump before a pair of opposite-field hits that preceded his RBI grounder. ... CF Franklin Gutierrez was out of the Mariners starting lineup for a second straight game with tightness in his groin though he felt better. ... Seattle 3B Kyle Seager had his majors-leading ninth double. ... Gentry had two hits in 16 at-bats before a bloop to right-center with two outs in the fourth that he turned into a double. That was an inning before his triple. ... Seattle OF Michael Saunders, who has been on the disabled list since April 11 with a sprained right shoulder, took batting practice Friday and may resume throwing in the next couple of days.