Rangers 10, Tigers 3
Ever since that rocky first inning in his major league debut, Yu
Darvish has been as good as advertised.
Darvish pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning and Mike
Napoli homered for the fourth straight game, leading the Texas
Rangers to a 10-3 rout of the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night for
their seventh consecutive victory.
After allowing four runs in the first inning April 9 against
Seattle, Darvish has given up only three earned runs in 16 2-3
”I think the biggest improvement is just the consistency of my
command,” Darvish said through a translator. ”I think it’s
getting close to where I want to be.”
The Rangers beat the Tigers in six games in last year’s AL
championship series, winning the clincher 15-5. This one wasn’t
much closer, with Texas scoring five runs in the eighth and
finishing with 19 hits.
Detroit (9-4) has the American League’s second-best record
behind the Rangers (11-2). Texas is 6-0 on the road, equaling a
team record set in 1989.
Darvish (2-0) showed impressive poise in the opener of a
four-game set at Comerica Park, allowing one run over 6 1-3 innings
in his toughest test since coming over from Japan.
”It’s all about getting comfortable,” Texas catcher Yorvit
Torrealba said. ”I think he’s only going to get better. I’m sure
he’s learning something from every outing.”
Adam Wilk (0-2) gave up two earned runs and 10 hits in four-plus
innings for the Tigers.
Neither starting pitcher played any role in last year’s ALCS.
The Rangers acquired Darvish in the offseason, committing more than
$107 million to bring in Japan’s top pitcher.
Wilk, meanwhile, is in Detroit’s rotation only because of an
injury to Doug Fister. It was the 24-year-old left-hander’s second
This was the longest of Darvish’s three starts, and the
25-year-old right-hander kept Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and
the powerful Detroit lineup off balance.
”He pitched well,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ”It looks
like he has some late life on his fastball, and he’s got a nice
repertoire of pitches.”
The Rangers led 2-1 before scoring a pair of unearned runs in
the fifth. After a leadoff walk by Josh Hamilton, Collin Balester
relieved Wilk and got Adrian Beltre to hit a chopper toward third.
Cabrera made a smooth pickup on a short hop but threw high to
second for an error.
After a walk to Michael Young loaded the bases, Nelson Cruz hit
a flair toward second baseman Ramon Santiago, who tried to play it
on a bounce and had the ball skip through his legs for another
error and a run.
Torrealba’s sacrifice fly made it 4-1.
Darvish got Fielder swinging on a looping breaking ball in the
sixth. Delmon Young then walked but was thrown out trying to go
from first to third on a wild pitch when Torrealba lost track of
the ball momentarily.
After a walk and an error gave the Tigers two on and nobody out
in the seventh, Darvish struck out Jhonny Peralta with his 121st
and final pitch, a nasty one that dropped sharply toward the dirt
at the last instant.
”It’s hard to be perfect right away, in a short amount of
time,” Darvish said. ”But I think I am slowly going in the right
The Rangers poured it on in the eighth. Cruz and Torrealba hit
RBI doubles, and Ian Kinsler drove in two more runs with a double
of his own. Elvis Andrus added an RBI single to make it 10-1.
”We know that’s a very good team – our people in Arizona said
they were the best team they saw this spring,” Leyland said. ”But
they are in our league, so we have to play them.”
The Rangers took a 2-0 lead on Young’s RBI single in the first
and Napoli’s homer an inning later. It was Napoli’s fifth home run
of the season, all in the last four games.
That was the only extra-base hit Wilk allowed, but Texas hit
nine singles off the youngster.
NOTES: Texas starters are 9-0 with a 2.37 ERA. … Santiago made
up for his fifth-inning misplay when – with the bases loaded and
two outs in the seventh – he made an acrobatic, backhand stop on
Hamilton’s hard grounder. … Darvish came out after 5 2-3 innings
in his other two starts.