Masterson outduels Darvish in Rangers' loss
JUL 27, 2013 9:27p ET
Darvish allowed a leadoff home run to Michael Bourn in the first inning, which was the difference as the Cleveland Indians edged the Texas Rangers 1-0 on Saturday night.
Darvish (9-5) struck out 11 and allowed three hits in a dominant six-inning performance, but Texas' offense was unable to save the Rangers ace from a hard-luck loss.
The right-hander also walked four before being lifted after throwing 123 pitches.
"Things like this are just part of the game," Darvish said through an interpreter. "After I gave up the home run, I regrouped myself right away and went on the attack mode.
"Some games pitchers don't perform their best, and some games hitters don't perform their best. It just didn't come through for the hitters today."
Indians right-hander Justin Masterson (12-7) went 7 2-3 innings -- scattering five singles and striking out eight -- to outduel Darvish.
Darvish struck out multiple batters in each of the first five innings, whiffing Nick Swisher three times. Darvish reached double figures in strikeouts for the seventh time this season and leads the majors with 172.
Bourn reached base three times, hitting his seventh career leadoff home run and drawing two walks, but the rest of the Indians were 2 for 20 against Darvish. Asdrubal Cabrera singled in the first, and Michael Brantley doubled in the sixth, but both were stranded at third base.
"Yu was terrific tonight, outside of that one pitch," Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "It's too bad he couldn't get the win after only giving up one run. We just couldn't get anything together for him."
Joe Smith recorded the final out of the eighth, and Chris Perez retired the side in order in the ninth. Cleveland posted its 13th shutout of the season, which is tied for the most in baseball.
"Masterson had good stuff, but we still had some situations where we've got to get a base hit," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Not getting hits with runners in scoring position, that's our Achilles' heel right now. Darvish was great, but as well as Masterson pitched, one base hit could have made a difference."
Texas pushed only one runner past second base. That was in the fifth inning when the Rangers loaded the bases with two outs. Masterson surrendered singles to Geovany Soto and Engel Beltre, and hit Ian Kinsler with a pitch.
Right fielder Nelson Cruz, though, grounded into an inning-ending fielder's choice. Earlier in the at-bat, he lined a pitch down the third base lane, but it landed several feet foul.
"(Cruz) was looking in on that sinker and took one down the line," Masterson said. "Then I threw a slider away. He got his bat to it, but he hit a nice ground ball."
Neal Cotts followed Darvish and tossed two perfect innings for Texas, which has lost three straight and is 2-7 since the All-Star break.
In the series opener on Friday, the Rangers rallied from a six-run deficit before losing 11-8 in 11 innings. Ryan Raburn hit a three-run, walk-off homer off Jason Frasor.
"I know we can do better, but I'm not frustrated," Washington said. "When you get frustrated, you go blind and can't think, and I'm smart enough to know that."
Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus singled in the second inning, extending his hitting streak against the Indians to 36 games.
Rangers right-hander Tanner Scheppers, who was assaulted while walking in downtown Cleveland on Thursday night, didn't pitch for the second straight game. The 26-year-old reliever sustained bruising around his left eye and cuts above his nose after being "sucker-punched by several young males." Scheppers said before the game he was available to pitch.
NOTES: Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre struck out in the first inning, ending a string of 83 straight plate appearances without a strikeout. ... Rangers LHP Matt Harrison (inflamed nerve in lower back), who has undergone two back operations since April, threw indoor batting practice before the game. Harrison was Texas' opening day starter, but hasn't pitched since April 6. ... Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland was hitless in four at-bats and is in a 2-for-33 slump (.061). ... OF Engel Beltre made his second straight start in place of David Murphy, who was 4-for-4 with two home runs in his career against Masterson. ... Indians RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-5) takes on Rangers RHP Alexi Ogando (4-2) in the finale of the three-game series Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Ogando is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in eight career games against Cleveland.