ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Yu Darvish pumped his fist twice and let out a shout walking off the mound after striking out the final batter he faced for the Texas Rangers.
Darvish had a one-run lead and left an Oakland runner stranded at third base to end the sixth inning, but the right-hander from Japan has still gone more than four years without a win over the AL West rival Athletics.
Coco Crisp and Khris Davis both hit two-run homers in the eighth off hard-throwing reliever Matt Bush and the A’s won 6-4 on Wednesday night. It was Davis’ second homer of the game for the A’s, who have won four consecutive series for the first time since May 2014.
"The ball was up and center-cut," manager Jeff Banister said of Bush (3-2). "He’s usually down. … I would say that’s what the issue was."
Still, the Rangers had to be encouraged by the performance from Darvish after struggling through the first four hitters of the game in only his third start since coming off the disabled list — and only sixth for Texas since missing all of last season after Tommy John surgery.
Texas was down 2-0 after Crisp started the game with a triple into the right-field corner before Jed Lowrie’s sacrifice fly and Davis’ first homer, a two-out shot. Darvish then retired 16 of the last 18 batters he faced, striking out Davis — who had also doubled against him — on a breaking pitch to end the sixth.
"The team came back, we had a one-run lead, I gave up two hits to the same guy, so I really wanted to get a strikeout and get the momentum going for the team," Darvish said through his interpreter. "That’s what I was aiming for, and (the emotional reaction) just happened naturally."
Ian Desmond hit his 20th homer for the Rangers, a two-run shot in the fifth that put them ahead 3-2. That came two innings after the All-Star center fielder had a two-out double and scored on Adrian Beltre’s single.
Darvish limited Oakland to two runs and four hits, with six strikeouts and no walks while throwing a season-high 93 pitches (64 strikes). He is 1-8 in 11 career starts against Oakland, the lone win coming May 16, 2012.
"Plus fastball still. Throwing his breaking ball," A’s manager Bob Melvin said. "He pitched great after a little bit of a rocky start."
Ryan Dull (5-2) threw 1 1-3 perfect innings in relief of Sean Manaea, who struck out nine without a walk in 6 2-3 innings. Ryan Madson worked the ninth for his 22nd save in 28 chances, two nights after giving up Beltre’s game-ending homer in the series opener.
While Darvish felt good, he said he said he let "it all out" against Davis to end his night.
"He’s engaged, he’s determined, he wants this as bad as anybody, he knows what he means to this ballclub in his starts and how valuable they are," Banister said. "That reaction, I loved it. It tells me this guy is coming to pitch and play and be a huge part of this."