ARLINGTON (AP) – Yu Darvish struck out 14, matching the most in his 50 major league starts, and the Texas Rangers hit three solo homers and beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-1 in a makeup game on Thursday night.
Darvish (10-5) had no walks and scattered five hits while throwing 78 strikes in 111 pitches over seven scoreless innings. It was his major league-leading eighth game this season with at least 10 strikeouts.
A.J. Pierzynski, Mitch Moreland and David Murphy all homered off Zeke Spruill (0-1), who went four innings in his first major league start.
Those homers all came early for the Rangers, who won their fourth straight game. They were coming off a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with game-ending homers in each.
Darvish struck out 10 of his first 13 batters, marking the 16th time since he joined the Rangers from Japan last season that he fanned at least 10. Dwight Gooden with 20 is the only other pitcher since 1900 with more in his first 50 starts.
It was the fourth game this season Darvish reached 14th strikeouts — there are only two other 14-K games in the majors this season. It is the most 14-strikeout games in one season for the Rangers, surpassing Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan’s three in 1990. Over seven seasons in Japan, Darvish had 15 strikeouts three times.
The only Arizona starter who didn’t strike out was Cody Ross. Leadoff hitter Gerardo Parra, who had a 10-game interleague hitting streak, and All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt both struck out three times against Darvish.
The Diamondbacks scored their only run in the ninth inning on Martin Prado’s RBI single.
Arizona had to make a side trip to Texas, on the way from Tampa Bay to Boston, to make up the game postponed on May 29 because of unplayable field conditions. A severe thunderstorm hit the area about an hour before that scheduled game, and the grounds crew struggled to get the tarp on the field.
There was no threat of wet weather Thursday night. It was 101 degrees when the game started and still in the upper 90s when it ended.
Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz is among 14 players targeted for discipline by Major League Baseball because of their relationship to a closed Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. The All-Star was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh because of tightness in his left quad.
Depending on the timing and length of any possible suspension, which could be announced this weekend, it could have been the last home game this season for Cruz. He leads the Rangers with 25 home runs and 73 RBIs and is eligible for free agency after the season.
Pierzynski put the Rangers ahead to stay in the second inning with his 419-foot blast to right, his 12th homer. Moreland hit his 15th homer leading off the third, an inning before Murphy’s 12th. Leonys Martin added a two-run double, though he was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple, and Pierzynski had a two-run single in the seventh.
Notes: Rangers SS Elvis Andrus extended the majors longest active hitting streak to 14 with a double in the seventh. … According to STATS, Darvish was the sixth pitcher since 1974 to have 10 strikeouts in the first 13 batters. The last was Ricky Nolasco for Florida on Sept. 30, 2009. … The announced attendance was 41,569, but a lot of those purchased tickets went unused.
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