But even a fatigued Darvish was more than enough to shut down the
Nationals on Sunday.
Darvish pitched eight shutout innings and Leonys Martin hit a solo
home run to break a scoreless tie in the seventh as the Rangers beat
the Nationals 2-0 to avoid a three-game sweep.
"I was able to go deep in the game and I was able to contribute to
the win," Darvish said through interpreter Kenji Nimura. "I just got
a little bit tired a little earlier than I (usually) do."
He said his cutter was a strong pitch for him against the Nationals,
who had won the first two games of the series by a combined 19-4.
"I was able to use that pitch effectively, especially against
right-handed hitters," Darvish said. "I thought I did a pretty good
Said Texas first baseman Donnie Murphy, who had three hits: "Those
guys (Nationals) were missing the ball by a foot. He was definitely
on his 'A' game today."
Darvish (5-2) was scratched from his previous start, on Tuesday,
with stiffness in his neck. But he fanned 12 batters on Sunday and
at one point set down five batters in a row on strikes. Joakim Soria
pitched a perfect ninth for the Rangers for the save.
"He was getting ahead of guys," catcher Chris Gimenez said of
Darvish. "He did a good job of mixing in his off-speed pitches."
Darvish, who gave up five hits and two walks, got out of a jam in
the sixth when shortstop Ian Desmond was retired on a fly ball to
the warning track in right field for the final out with runners on
first and third. Darvish, using a variety of breaking balls and a
fastball that hit 97 miles per hour, has 41 strikeouts in his last
Texas center fielder Martin broke a scoreless tie with a homer into
the Washington bullpen -- the ball was caught by a bullpen catcher
-- to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the seventh against starter and
hard-luck loser Tanner Roark (3-4).
Murphy added an insurance run in the eighth with an RBI single.
Roark, who was drafted by Texas in 2008, made his first career
appearance against the Rangers. He gave up seven hits and the one
run in seven innings.
The Rangers appeared to take a 1-0 lead in the first when shortstop
Elvis Andrus (two hits) scored from third when right fielder Alex
Rios initially stole second but was called out for the third out
when he slid past the bag. Both managers challenged -- Rios was
confirmed out at second and the Nationals won their challenge when
the review showed that Andrus did not score before Rios was called
out at second.
"I challenged the fact that he hadn't crossed the plate" before Rios
was tagged out, Washington manager Matt Williams said.
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"It came down to pitching today," Texas manager Ron Washington said.
"We just needed Yu to pitch well."
Said Washington first baseman Adam LaRoche of Darvish: "Well, we
just caught a really good pitcher on a day when he had really good
stuff. That was just a matter of who was gonna come up with the big
hit first. They happened to hit the solo home run and that was
enough. Just mixing up pitches. You hear that all the time, but that
really is the key when guys can mix up four or five different
pitches, all different speeds or locations. It makes it tough to sit
on any one pitch."
NOTES: Washington 3B Ryan Zimmerman made his second minor league
rehab appearance for Class-A Potomac on Saturday night and he played
left field for the first time in his career. He played left for
seven innings on Sunday for Potomac and will play nine innings
Monday, also in left. "Tuesday is a possibility," manager Matt
Williams said of Zimmerman being activated. ... Washington opens a
series at home Tuesday against Philadelphia and RHP Jordan
Zimmermann (3-2, 4.07) will face RHP David Buchanan (1-0, 3.86). ...
Texas LF Michael Choice, slated to bat leadoff, was a late scratch
with a left shin contusion. He was replaced in left and at leadoff
by Daniel Robertson. ... Texas will begin a series at home Tuesday
and LHP Joe Saunders (0-1, 4.15) will pitch against RHP Ubaldo
Jimenez (2-6, 4.65) of Baltimore. Saunders pitched for the Orioles
at the end of the 2012 season ... Washington LHP Gio Gonzalez (left
shoulder inflammation) threw a simulated game of about 50 pitches
Sunday. "He had good life on his fastball," Williams said. "He threw
some curveballs, he threw some change ups."
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