BOSTON (AP) – Texas starter Yu Darvish admits he isn’t the same pitcher he was in Japan.
The Rangers right-hander is no longer a reflection of the hurler he was during his first month in the majors, either.
Mired in a prolonged slump, Darvish struck out the first two batters he faced Monday night, but struggled the rest of the way, allowing six runs on a career-high 11 hits, including seven doubles, in a 9-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
After a sensational start to his career, going 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA in five April outings, Darvish (11-8) is 1-3 with a 7.76 ERA over his last five.
“I come over here and make the effort to adjust to the major leagues. I’ve been open, tried a lot of different things, but in the end, the Rangers acquired me for the pitcher that I was, that I am in Japan,” Darvish said through a translator.
“So just looking back on it, preparing and pitching the way I can — mentally and physically — that’s something that I want to bring back and try to continue to do in my next outings.”
Darvish struck out nine and walked four, throwing a career-high 123 pitches, 75 of them strikes, and surrendered RBI doubles to Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez in the third, and Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in the fourth.
“Earlier it was command. Tonight it was just getting hit. Simple as that,” Texas manager Ron Washington said of Darvish’s recent troubles. “The line score doesn’t look good, but he threw strikes. He used all his pitches, and his secondary stuff, when he threw them for strikes, they hit them. His fastball, when he threw them for strikes, they hit them.
“Tonight just wasn’t Yu Darvish’s night. Tonight was the Boston Red Sox’ night. But if he goes out there pounding the strike zone like he did tonight, I will take it.”
Darvish admitted to tinkering with his routine Monday, taking the field for warmups earlier than usual, something he did in Japan.
“It’s hard to turn the page and become a new pitcher in one single day,” Darvish said. “The results weren’t there today, but this is something that’s going to be a baby step to go toward that. I’m going to keep on working on that and stay focused.”
At least on the surface, Washington isn’t concerned.
“It’s a long season. It’s 162 games. He’ll get the ball 10 or 11 more times and we’ll just keep working as I said and see where it goes from there,” the manager said. “But worry? No, I’m not worried. When adversity hits, you got to step up and we feel like he’ll step up.”
Pedroia had three of Boston’s eight doubles, Ellsbury and Crawford two each and Gonzalez one as the Red Sox increased their major league high to 248 doubles, 35 more than the second-place New York Mets. Crawford and Gonzalez drove in three runs each.
Aaron Cook (3-5) regained control of his sinker after going 0-4 in his previous five starts. Of his 21 outs, 15 came on groundballs. He allowed six hits, walked two and struck out one.
The strong game by the Red Sox — both hitting and pitching — came on a night in which owner John Henry issued a statement supporting first-year manager Bobby Valentine.
In an email to reporters, Henry said that management is not making a managerial change, and he cited numerous injuries as one reason for the team’s struggles. He also said it is “simply wrong” to blame Valentine for the team’s troubles, and “we all” share responsibility.
The Red Sox have hovered around .500 most of the season and have never been in first or second place in the AL East.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the second on a double by Nelson Cruz and an RBI single by David Murphy. But they managed just two hits in Cook’s remaining five innings while the Red Sox were taking a 5-1 lead. Texas was hitless in four straight innings before Adrian Beltre started the ninth with his 19th homer of the year.
The Red Sox went up 6-1 in the seventh when Pedroia led off with his third double and scored on Gonzalez’s single.
They added three runs in the eighth with the runs coming in on a double by Crawford, a single by Gonzalez and a sacrifice fly by Cody Ross.
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