ARLINGTON (AP) — J.C. Ramirez outpitched All-Star Yu Darvish and Albert Pujols hit his 604th career home run as four Los Angeles Angels pitchers combined to beat the Texas Rangers 3-0 on Sunday.
Ramirez (8-7) allowed two hits in six innings. Angels relievers allowed only one walk with Bud Norris earning his 13th save with a perfect ninth inning.
Ramirez made his 16th straight start since mid-April after his previous 108 career appearances in the major leagues were in relief. The 28-year-old was moved into the starting rotation after Los Angeles lost multiple starters to injury.
Darvish (6-8) gave up two runs while pitching 7 1/3 innings. He allowed three hits, fanning six and walking four in a start that cost him a potential appearance in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game. Darvish last week complied with a club request not to pitch in Miami two days after starting.
Pujols hit a two-out home run into the Angels’ bullpen in left-center in the first inning. He took a .206 career batting average vs. Darvish in 34 at-bats into the game. Three of his eight career hits off the four-time All-Star have been homers.
The Angels added a run in the fifth inning after Ben Revere stole third base following Darvish’s throw behind him to second base. Juan Graterol followed with a sacrifice fly.
It was Ramirez’s best start since April 25, when he threw seven shutout innings vs. Oakland while allowing two hits.
In Ramirez’s biggest jam on Sunday, Shin-Soo Choo to grounded to shortstop on a 3-2 pitch with runners at second and third in the fifth inning.
Ramirez ends the season’s first half with a major league career-high 103 innings. His previous high as a reliever was 78 2/3 innings last season, which was divided between the Angels and Cincinnati.
Darvish was called for a balk in the third inning when Franklin took off from first base and Darvish threw to second.
The Rangers are 1-8 in Darvish’s last nine starts.
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