Yu Darvish fell just short of achieving what is quite possibly the most exciting line of zeroes in all of sports as he no-hit the Boston Red Sox for eight-and-two-thirds innings Friday night.
David Ortiz smacked a seeing-eye ground ball through the oft-used overshift, past a diving Rougned Odor, to spoil the no-hit bid.
The perfect game bid was broken up in the seventh inning, when a pop-up off the bat of Ortiz stayed up in a 14 mph wind and fell between Odor and Alex Rios. Rios was charged with an error on the play.
"I thought he was a little closer to the ball than I was" said Rios. "But at the end it's my responsibility to call him off, and it's a shame that I couldn't help Yu achieve a great pitching performace tonight. I should have taken control of that ball."
Darvish may not have had to face Ortiz for a third time if he was retired in the seventh. Yu had to throw 10 more pitches in the seventh, walking Mike Napoli to extend the inning further. In the eighth, Prince Fielder had an opportunity to turn a double play, but bobbled the ground ball and settled for the solo out at his home bag.
Darvish fanned 12 Red Sox while allowing just three baserunners in the game. It was his 21st career double-figure strikeout performance.
On April 2, 2013, Darvish came within one out of a perfect game against the Houston Astros. A ground ball through the infield extinguished that bid for the history books as well.
"This is the second time I've experienced this" said Darvish. "But if I keep pitching like this, I'll get it someday. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing, and I'll probably have another, world record of almost a no-hitter."
It wasn't the first time Darvish has throw a great game, but it was by far the best game he's ever thrown in front of the fans in Arlington. For Rangers manager Ron Washington, there's only one word that comes to mind when he thinks about the performance Darvish put on at Globe Life Park Friday night.
"Tremendous" said Wash. "I think that's the best stuff I've seen him have since he's been here. Even through the opportunities he's had to throw a no hitter, his stuff was good tonight. He did one heck of a job out there tonight against a very good offensive club."
Texas gave its 27-year-old Japanese-Iranian phenom eight runs of support, highlighted by a five-run fifth inning. Leonys Martin homered in the frame. Elvis Andrus, who moved back to the no. 2 spot in the lineup, recorded four hits Friday, a season high.
Saturday's game against the Red Sox is slated for 7:05 p.m. CT.
Katy Clarke contributed to this report.