OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Yu Darvish has dominated most teams in his first two seasons in the majors except for the one the Texas Rangers are trying to beat out in the AL West.
Darvish matched a season high in runs (5) and tied a career-high in walks (6) allowed, lasting only five-plus innings in the Rangers’ 11-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.
Texas lost two of three in the series to fall into a tie atop the division with the A’s, who always seem to find a way to deliver against Darvish. The Japanese star is 1-5 with a 4.82 ERA against Oakland.
“There’s nothing we need to push a panic button on,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He’s human. He’s like everybody else who can go out and have a bad day.”
Always seems to happen against the A’s.
Brandon Moss, Daric Barton and Coco Crisp hit two-run homers and Josh Donaldson added a three-run drive for Oakland. The A’s handed Darvish (12-7) a loss in consecutive starts for the first time all season.
“I think he brings out the best in us,” Donaldson said.
Jarrod Parker (11-6) gave up two runs in six innings to extend his unbeaten streak to 18 straight starts, eclipsing Catfish Hunter’s Oakland mark set from June 2-Sept. 3, 1973. Parker struck out four and walked none.
The 24-year-old has won his last nine decisions, the most by an A’s pitcher since Dan Haren won 10 straight in 2007. He hasn’t lost since May 22 at Texas.
A year after the A’s completed a three-game sweep over the Rangers to win the division on the final day, the AL West race is again shaping up as a tight one.
Oakland has won eight of its last 10 to set up what should be a scintillating September. The teams play three more times in Texas from Sept. 13-16. “It should be fun,” Donaldson said.
The Rangers, just as they did a year ago, wilted in their final regular-season game at the Oakland Coliseum.
Darvish struggled with his command from the start, bouncing balls in front of the plate and piling up his pitch count. By the second, he had already matched a season high with four walks and had thrown 42 pitches.
At one point, Darvish made a pointed gesture that appeared to signal catcher A.J. Pierzynski to go back behind the plate during a visit by pitching coach Mike Maddux. But Pierzynski downplayed the incident.
“He had a command issue. I went out there to calm him down. I wasn’t paying attention,” Pierzynski said.
Moss hit his 26th home run in the first, and Crisp drove in the first of his four RBIs in the second with a sacrifice fly.
Leonys Martin hit an RBI double and Craig Gentry singled him home in the third to slice Oakland’s lead to 3-2, but the Rangers blew their best chance to rally in the fifth.
Shortstop Jed Lowrie bobbled Jim Adduci’s grounder and Martin’s sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Jurickson Profar broke to the plate on Gentry’s comebacker and was tagged out trying to get back to third.
Barton’s second home run of the season — and first in Oakland since July 10, 2010 — ended Darvish’s day. Donaldson’s 20th homer came later in the sixth against reliever Robbie Ross, and Crisp’s 18th in the eighth put the finishing touches on the rout.
“You can look at it any way you want,” Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “There was nothing more to the series other than they beat us two out of three. We have them at our place and sooner or later we decide who wins the division, won’t we?”
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