Preview: Santana hopes to get back on track after losing four straight starts

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Yu Darvish isn’t concerned with personal accomplishments. He simply hopes he can pitch well enough to help the Texas Rangers win ballgames.

That may be difficult if the offense repeats its most recent performance.

Darvish seeks his first victory in three starts as Texas concludes this three-game series with the visiting Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

The Rangers won eight of Darvish’s first nine starts with him posting a 1.65 ERA in the initial five. He has a 4.10 ERA in six outings since, though, and Texas (34-21) has dropped his last two starts.

Darvish (7-2, 3.03 ERA) struck out 14 for the third time this season while giving up four runs in 7 2-3 innings Monday, but the Rangers fell 5-4 at Arizona.

He’s the first since Arizona’s Randy Johnson in 2004 to have at least three starts with at least 14 strikeouts in a single season, though it’s an accomplishment he would have rather achieved in a victory.

“Baseball’s not a competition about getting strikeouts,” Darvish said. “It’s about winning.”

Darvish will be pitching on five days’ rest and said he’s ready for a long outing.

“If I have four days rest, I think I can throw 130 (pitches), but if I have five days of rest, I can throw 150,” Darvish told the team’s official website.

The right-hander faced the Royals once last season, allowing three runs and striking out six in seven innings of an 8-4 victory Sept. 3. The Rangers hope to provide that type of run support this time around after mustering only six hits in a 4-1, 10-inning loss Saturday.

Their only run came on a fourth-inning RBI single from Mitch Moreland, who is 3 for his last 16.

Texas’ offense looks to get back on track against Ervin Santana, who has struggled lately and hasn’t had much success versus the Rangers.

Santana (3-5, 3.33) has lost four straight starts while posting a 4.72 ERA after going 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA in his first six outings. He’s received only eight runs of support in his current rough stretch, though, and allowed four runs in 7 1-3 innings of Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to St. Louis.

“We were just a matter of a hit away from probably winning every one of his starts,” manager Ned Yost told the team’s official website. “He’s the one guy that … hasn’t gotten much run support. You can’t really try to figure out how he’s throwing based on his win-loss record.”

The right-hander made 27 starts versus the Rangers during his days with the Los Angeles Angels and has a 7.47 ERA in 16 career outings in Arlington. He’s 2-5 with an 8.06 ERA in his last eight overall starts against them.

The Royals (23-30), though, have won two of three following an eight-game losing streak, scoring three runs in the 10th inning Saturday. Eric Hosmer had three hits and scored on George Kottaras’ two-run double in the final frame.

David Lough was hit on the wrist with a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead run.

“I had the X-rays and a lot of strength came back in my arm after that,” Lough said. “I’m glad we got the win more than anything.”

The Royals have won three of the last four road games versus the Rangers.