Yu Darvish was nothing short of spectacular in the Rangers’ 7-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in a make-up game Thursday night.
The six-foot-five right-hander had wicked stuff and almost surgical precision with multiple pitches in a 14-strikeout performance on a 100-degree Texas evening. Darvish threw seven innings, walking no one.
Something about the Diamondbacks must get Darvish going.
Yu has recorded 28 strikeouts and zero walks in his last 14.2 innings pitched against Arizona. Darvish surrendered four runs and earned a no-decision in a May 27 start in Arizona.
But, overshadowed somewhat by Darvish’s stat sheet on Thursday was a seven-run performance at the plate – and the first non-walk-off win for the Rangers in eight days.
The offensive attack began with three solo home runs. A.J. Pierzynski, Mitch Moreland and David Murphy went deep off of rookie Zeke Spruill in the second, third and fourth innings, respectively.
Leonys Martin, who was the second of three walk-off heroes in the series with Los Angeles, stroked one to the right-center gap to bring in the fourth and fifth run for Texas. The hit was officially ruled a double, as Martin was tagged out after over-sliding third base.
Pierzynski wasn’t done after his solo shot in the second. A.J. put a couple crooked numbers in his line score with a single to center that brought home Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler.
Murphy, whose batting average stood at just .221 entering Thursday’s game, added a double and a single to his third-inning home run. Murphy said he was comfortable at the plate in the win.
“You look for a feel all year, and this was the best feel I’ve had,” he said to Fox Sports Southwest after the game.
Murphy said building on a three-hit night, personally, is all about consistency. But the left fielder noted that it has been a good week for the offense as a whole.
“We take pride in being a deep offense, top to bottom,” Murphy said. “The last four days, pretty much everybody has contributed on offense.”
Seven different Rangers recorded at least one hit Thursday.
The seven shutout innings move Darvish’s season ERA to 2.65, and his 14 strikeouts improve his major league-leading strikeout total to 186. Darvish threw 78 strikes on 111 pitches (70.3 percent) on Thursday.
“He was using all his pitches, pounding the strike zone,” Manager Ron Washington said to reporters after the game. “The difference is the command.”
Neal Cotts threw a scoreless eighth inning, and Jaokim Soria surrendered the lone Diamondback run in the ninth, when a ground ball skipped past the glove of a lunging Mitch Moreland at first base.
To go with the 14 K’s by Darvish, Andrus added a 14 of his own. The shortstop extended his hit streak to 14 games with a double to left-center in his final at-bat of the game.
Andrus’s 14-game stretch since the All-Star break is the longest active hitting streak in Major League Baseball.
The Rangers' win streak reached four games with Thursday’s win. The Rangers head west for a crucial series with Oakland, the current division leader.
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