ARLINGTON, Texas – On the day the Texas Rangers acquired a top-flight starter in Matt Garza, another returned to their rotation and was back in ace form.
Right-hander Yu Darvish, who hadn’t pitched in 16 days, returned from the disabled list and pitched 6 1/3 shutouts innings as the Rangers snapped a four-game slide with a 3-0 victory over the New York Yankees.
Darvish, who was sidelined by a right trapezius strain, didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning and finished up by allowing just two hits and striking out four in his 90-pitch start.
“He was throwing the ball well and you could see he was fresh,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “When we got into that seventh inning, you could see the heat may have gotten to him a little bit and he quit driving the ball through the catcher. But he was certainly sharp. Sharper than I thought he would be.”
Darvish (9-4) was able to remain on schedule by working back from the last five days and approaching Monday like it was a normal start.
That routine seemed to work as he carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning before Lyle Overbay dumped a single into shallow left field. Darvish then walked Travis Hafner with one out but came back to strike out Eduardo Nunez before Chris Stewart popped out to second.
He then sailed into the seventh before Overbay singled to right with one out in a 2-0 game. That was it for Darvish as Robbie Ross came on and got a double-play grounder to end the inning.
“I was able to locate my fastballs for strikes,” Darvish said. “I was able to throw all my pitches. I think it was good overall.”
Darvish showed no rust as his fastball was in the mid 90s and he walked just two batters.
“It was pretty impressive for him to come and look like he didn’t miss any time,” catcher Geovany Soto said. “He was really sharp tonight.”
The Rangers offense wasn’t necessarily good, but it was good enough. Texas never led in getting swept against Baltimore but got to Ivan Nova for the only run it would need in the first inning.
Adrian Beltre’s RBI single to center scored Ian Kinsler, who led off the first with a single and stole second. Texas added another run on a Soto RBI double in the sixth and Nelson Cruz capped the scoring an inning later with his 23rd homer of the season.
The Rangers had the kind of game Washington knows they’re capable of. They got strong pitching, committed no errors and were aggressive on the bases with three steals.
Not a bad way to cap what turned out to be a good day for the Rangers.