Pierzynski plays big role in Darvish dazzler
ARLINGTON, Texas – When Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish has his best stuff like he did Thursday, catcher A.J. Pierzynski said his job is fairly easy.
"You just try to keep him going, that's it," said Pierzynski of Darvish, who struck out 14 in a 7-1 win over Arizona. "You could tell kind early on he had it going. You just try to keep him going."
Pierzynski kept Darvish going through seven shutout innings of work, including 111 pitches – 78 for strikes.
It was Pierzynski's first time to catch Darvish since at June 25th game at Yankee Stadium. At the time, a mini-controversy had erupted about Darvish throwing too many breaking pitches.
Geovany Soto caught Darvish's next four starts. Pierzynski said he didn't detect any difference in pitch selection since the last time he caught Darvish.
"Yu's always the same," Pierzynski said. "He pitches the way he wants to pitch and you can't really try to fight that. It's the way he does it, and he does what he does and he's had success. Why would you want to? He's had success his whole life. He's a special talent and I'm glad he's on our side."
Pierzynski contributed on all sides of the win. First by hitting a second-inning homer that gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Pierzynski wound up 3-for-4 with three runs batted in.
He also stole his first base since August 21, 2010 – nearly three full years – when he swiped second in the sixth inning without drawing a throw. It was Pierzynski's first career game with both a home run and a stolen base.
"We used to always joke when I was coming up with the Twins to try to fill every column [in the boxscore]," said Pierzynski, who recorded his 14th steal in 16 major league seasons.
"I've been waiting a while to try to get a stolen base. It just worked out tonight where [Jurickson] Profar fell behind in the count and I just went. Luckily there was no throw because I probably would have been out if he would've thrown it."
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire