Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish could only smile after Brett Gardner homered off of him for the third time in a week.
Darvish got really emotional after his last pitch, with Gardner and Derek Jeter both on base again for the New York Yankees.
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After striking out his final batter to get out of that jam in the seventh, Darvish shouted out and pumped his fist several times coming off the mound, and the Rangers held on for a 4-2 victory Monday night.
"I’m just glad they didn’t tie the game," Darvish said through his translator about his rare emphatic response. "It was late in the game, and it was a close game, and it got close to a win, so I think I just showed emotions because of that."
Jeter had three hits to pass Carl Yastrzemski for seventh place on the hits list. The rest of the Yankees managed only three hits off Darvish, who threw 80 of his 108 pitches for strikes five days after losing a rain-shortened game in New York.
Jeter now has 3,420th career hit, one more than Yastrzemski. Next on the list is Honus Wagner at 3,430.
"It’s tough to enjoy when you lose the game," Jeter said.
Darvish (10-6) struck out eight in seven innings, the biggest coming when Brian McCann swung and missed to end the seventh.
"That was an example of his competitive juices," manager Ron Washington said. "Once he got out of that inning, he should show excitement. I’m glad he did, because it was a tense time."
J.P. Arencibia had a tiebreaking two-run single in the fifth, when the Rangers scored all of their runs with five consecutive batters reaching base with two outs.
David Phelps (5-5) lost for the first time in nine starts, allowing four runs and eight hits in six innings. The right-hander, like Darvish, was credited with a complete game last Wednesday in the 2-1 Yankees victory that didn’t resume after rain in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Yankees led 2-0 after Gardner homered in the fifth, an at-bat started with him taking three consecutive curveballs in the mid-60s, the first two of them strikes. Darvish smiled Gardner after homered on a 2-2 pitch, an 85-mph slider left over the plate that just cleared the center field wall.
Gardner also homered in the third, and has 12 homers this season after the first multihomer game of his career. He also went deep off Darvish last week, though he has little explanation for his success against the Japanese ace.
"I’m not sure. I try to get good at-bats. Small sample size," Gardner said. "It’s hard to have confidence in the batter’s box when he’s on the mound."