Darvish has his shortest Rangers’ outing in loss

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) talks with catcher Robinson Chirinos (61) and pitching coach Mike Maddux during the third inning of the game against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Tim Heitman/Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas – It made perfect sense that the clunker of all clunker’s in Yu Darvish’s career with the Texas Rangers would come against the Oakland Athletics.

As good as Darvish has been in his two-plus year with the Rangers, the Athletics have been his downfall and nothing changed about that Monday night.

Darvish had the shortest outing of his big-league career, lasting just 3 1/3 innings, and was on the losing end of a 4-0 blanking at the hands of Oakland.

Darvish (1-1) has now lost his last five decisions at home against Oakland and his lifetime ERA against the Athletics sits at 4.73.

Monday night Darvish made it through the first two innings unscathed despite throwing 39 pitches. He wasn’t as fortunate in the third as Oakland scored twice against him on a two-run single from Josh Donaldson. A one-out walk in the fourth inning after Oakland had scored again was enough for Texas manager Ron Washington.

He pulled the Texas ace after he needed 83 pitches to record 10 outs. It was his shortest outing in the majors and his shortest professionally since May 10, 2007, in Japan. The quick hook snapped a streak of 56-consecutive starts in which Darvish had gone at least five innings, the third longest in baseball.

Darvish said his fastball command was off from the start. It was never really on.

"As a starting pitcher you always want to go deeper in the game and obviously I was disappointed to throw only three-plus innings," Darvish said. "But this is something that happens to any pitcher. This happened. What happened happened so I just don’t want to dwell on it and do much better on the next outing."

Darvish’s last start came against Oakland and he allowed three runs in six innings. Oakland was determined to make he was out sooner than that Monday as he didn’t have an inning in which he threw fewer than 19 pitches.

Washington wanted to give Darvish a chance to work out of his trouble but had seen enough after Josh Reddick’s run-scoring triple made it 3-0 and then Eric Sogard walked in the fourth inning.

"You know the first few innings I thought he mixed pretty good," said Washington. "Those guys found a way to get him. I thought he tried to throw everything at them but the kitchen sink. It just didn’t work. They found a way to put balls in play. They found a way to score runs. He was out there fighting and mixing. It just didn’t work."

As atypical as Darvish’s start was Monday, the fact that the Rangers failed to support him at home against Oakland has become a common occurrence. The Rangers managed just three singles against Sonny Gray, who became the first pitcher other than Martin Perez to author a complete-game shutout in the American League.

The Rangers managed to get just two runners into scoring position against Gray and have now scored a total of three runs in the last five Darvish starts against Oakland in Arlington. Darvish is 0-5 in his last five home starts against Oakland and have been shut out three times.

Monday night the praise went Gray’s way.

"He threw the ball well," said Michael Choice, who led off the bottom of the first with a walk but ended 0 for 2. "He threw strikes. He mixed it up well and we just couldn’t get anything going offensively. He made good pitches."