Tuesday, April 10, 2012
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Darvish wins ML debut in Rangers' 11-5 win over Mariners

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[April 10, 2012]  ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Yu Darvish didn't know how to react when he walked off the mound to a huge ovation from Texas Rangers fans after his much-anticipated major league debut.

Darvish might want to get used to tipping his cap, something he didn't realized was customary.

"I was not even aware of doing that," said Darvish, who went to the dugout without acknowledging the cheers. "I was in awe. Nothing like an outing that I can be very proud of, but even the outing that I had, people stood up and applauded for me. It's very moving."

Darvish overcame a rough start with some help from his powerful offense and pitched into the sixth inning to win his first start as the Rangers rallied for an 11-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.

Even though Darvish gave up four runs in the first -- he walked the leadoff batter on four pitches -- fans stood and screamed "Yuuuuuu!" when he finally got out of the inning on his 42nd pitch.

Imagine how loud and excited they were when he came out of the game, with two outs in the sixth and Texas ahead to stay.

Once Darvish (1-0) settled down -- Seattle added another run in the second -- he retired 10 in a row for the two-time defending American League champions.

"Mentally, I was very calm, but my body felt like it wanted to go and go and go," Darvish said through his translator. "At the beginning of the game, my mind and my body kind of weren't on the same page. ... It was pretty much a battle all night."

One thing Darvish already knows about are those big bats in Texas' lineup. He knew if he could string some zeroes together, they would back him up.

And they did.

Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer in the third to tie the game at 5. Mitch Moreland and Josh Hamilton both went deep in the fourth to give Darvish an 8-5 lead.

Ian Kinsler added a three-run blast in the eighth, his second of the season. After the game, the second baseman said he had agreed to a new $75 million, five-year contract. That deal is pending a physical and would start next season, replacing a $10 million option the team had for 2013.

Darvish was Japan's top pitcher before the Rangers committed more than $107 million to acquire him, his guaranteed $56 million, six-year contract and a more than $51 million posting fee to his former team. Despite the early struggles in his first start, the 25-year-old right-hander is undefeated in Texas.

"Going through warm-ups and everything, he felt fine," said catcher Mike Napoli, sporting a "Yu is my Homeboy" T-shirt after the game. "He got out there and was over-amped. I don't think he was scared, he was excited to be out there."

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There was a wild pitch in the first thrown so hard that it ricocheted off the backstop right back to Napoli.

Kyle Seager had a two-run single and Miguel Olivo's RBI single reloaded the bases before Munenori Kawasaki, an eight-time All-Star in Japan who was the only Mariner to previously face Darvish, walked on four pitches.

"In the first inning, it just seemed like he couldn't get control of his emotions. He checked himself, and showed what kind of battler and warrior he is," manager Ron Washington said. "He got us into the sixth inning, almost finished the sixth."

After No. 9 batter Brendan Ryan was hit by a pitch with one out in the third, Darvish retired the next 10 batters before Dustin Ackley walked and Ichiro Suzuki singled with two outs in the sixth. Alexi Ogando struck out Justin Smoak to end the inning.

"He throws hard. That slider is deceptive," Ryan said of Darvish. "I'm sure he's going to pitch a lot better than he did tonight, and I'm sure he was not very satisfied with it, but he settled down there in the middle and gave them a chance to close it out."

Darvish struck out five and walked four while throwing 59 of his 110 pitches for strikes. He gave up eight hits.

Seattle starter Hector Noesi (0-1) only made it into the fourth. The right-hander was gone after Napoli drew a leadoff walk and Moreland followed by pulling a 382-foot homer down the right-field line for a 7-5 lead.

Michael Young and Cruz had consecutive two-out RBI singles in the first off Noesi, but Seattle got another run in the second when Suzuki doubled and scored on a double by Seager.

NOTES: Erasmo Ramirez made his major league debut relieving Noesi. The right-hander allowed only one run, Hamilton's homer, in his three innings. ... Neftali Feliz, the Rangers' closer-turned-starter, makes his first start Tuesday night against Seattle. He faces right-hander Blake Beaven, the former top prospect for the Rangers who was traded to Seattle two seasons ago in the Cliff Lee deal.

[Associated Press; By STEPHEN HAWKINS]

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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