Back-to-back home runs from the Minnesota Twins broke up a shutout and a no-hit bid, and tagged Rangers starter Yu Darvish with a loss 3-2 Friday night in Arlington.
Four-baggers from Chris Herrmann and Justin Morneau put three runs on the board for Minnesota following the second walk of the night by Darvish, ending the third no-hit bid of six or more innings for the Ranger starter in 2013.
Darvish faced the minimum of 18 batters through six innings. The only Twin to get aboard, Josh Willingham, was erased on a double play ball in the second inning.
Going into the seventh inning, Darvish had struck out five consecutive hitters.
Darvish recorded his eleventh double-digit strikeout performance of the season with 11, and passed Nolan Ryan for the second-most strikeouts in a season in club history. Darvish now has 236 strikeouts in 2013. Ryan holds the club record with 301 strikeouts in 1989.
But, as has been characteristic in Darvish starts this season, the Rangers offense (averaging over six runs per game in August) did not give the AL leader in strikeouts much run support.
Jurickson Profar sent a Liam Hendriks pitch off the façade of the upper deck in right field with one out in the third inning to record the first Ranger hit of the night.
The second Ranger run scored on a slow roller to first base by A.J. Pierzynski in the fourth inning. Pierzynski made awful contact with a 3-0 pitch, but it was enough to bring Ian Kinsler home from third. Kinsler singled, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher.
But the offense couldn’t capitalize on crucial opportunities when it needed to. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier made a diving play to end the fourth and sixth innings with runners on first and second.
Texas also squandered a scoring chance with Craig Gentry on third with one out in the seventh inning.
The Rangers left six runners on base Friday.
Hendriks threw six innings, surrendering five hits and just the two runs. Four Twins combined to toss the final three scoreless innings for Minnesota.
Darvish was efficient through six innings, entering the seventh with just 77 pitches. But 30 pitches over his final two-thirds of an inning ended his night.
The ball was turned over to Neal Cotts, who escaped the seventh after Leonys Martin’s eleventh outfield assist of the season pegged Trevor Plouffe at home.
Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers each surrendered one hit and recorded a strikeout in a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, respectively.
Darvish finished the month of August with 64 strikeouts, which marks a new club record for a single month. The previous record was 60, set by Jim Bibby in July of 1973.
The Rangers resume a three-game set with Minnesota Saturday night. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.