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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Yu Darvish’s much anticipated debut got off to a rocky start in the Rangers’ 11-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners. It took Darvish 42 pitches to get out of the first inning but then his resilience took over.
The Rangers were quickly down 4-0 because Darvish struggled mightily to get strikes over the plate. Darvish faced 10 batters in the inning, giving up four hits, four runs (all earned) and three walks. Darvish was able to strike out two batters before getting Mariners’ left fielder Chone Figgins to ground out to third.
“I think when he got out there, he was over amped. I don’t think he was scared, he was just excited to be out there. It was his first start,” said Rangers catcher Mike Napoli.
Seattle pitcher Hector Noesi allowed the Rangers to cut the lead to 4-2 the next half-inning. It was up to Darvish to keep the Rangers in the game from that point forward. Although he surrendered another run to make it 5-2, Darvish found more control in the second inning using only 13 pitches. Darvish then began to show his steadfastness.
“(Darvish) just had to fight that energy level that he was dealing with; the second inning he calmed down a little bit. Third was a little better, but then four, five and six he began to feel it a little bit and got us some outs,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington.
In the third, Nelson Cruz hit a 357ft line-drive home run (his first of the season) to left field with two men on base to give Yu a chance to pursue his first MLB victory. With the score tied at five, Darvish continued the fight, attacking Seattle to force a three up, three down fourth inning.
The bats continued to be on fire for the Rangers in the fourth: after walking Mike Napoli, Noesi surrendered a two run home run to Mitch Moreland, his first of the season, to put Texas up 7-5. Three batters later, Josh Hamilton would hit a solo home run, his second of the season, to push the lead to 8-5.
When discussing the lineup, Washington praised his team: “The thing about this club is one through nine, you never can relax. We did a good job of supporting him (Darvish) and he did a good job of supporting us by keeping us where he kept us. The game could have gotten out of hand, but it didn’t, and he put up 4 ½ or 3 ½ zeros.”
In the sixth inning, Washington decided after two quick Seattle singles to end Darvish’s night. Darvish went 5 2/3 innings giving up 8 hits, 5 runs all earned, 4 walks and 5 strikeouts. He threw 110 pitches, 59 were strikes. Between the third and sixth innings, Darvish would retire 10 batters in a row. Alexi Ogando pitched in relief.
“That’s a big league pitcher. When you don’t have your stuff that day, for you to go out there and battle through it…hats off to him. That’s a big league pitcher right there,” said Napoli.
Darvish, 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA in 167 games in Japan’s Pacific League the past seven seasons, he is now 1-0 in MLB with a 7.94 ERA. Darvish signed a six-year deal in the offseason worth a guaranteed $56 million after the Rangers paid a $51.7 million posting fee this offseason.
Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler tacked on more insurance in the eighth inning with a three-run home run, his second of the season, giving the Rangers 11 runs. When asked about the Rangers offense, Darvish called it “Incredible.”
Brian Waddle is the Producer for the K&C Masterpiece on 105.3 the Fan Sundays from 10am to 2pm. Waddle is also on twitter @Big_Time_Waddle
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