Monday, June 02, 2014
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Darvish, Rangers Shut Out Nationals

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[June 02, 2014]  WASHINGTON -- Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish said he got tired earlier than normal since he had to bat three times in an interleague game against the Washington Nationals.

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 job."

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 four starts.

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."

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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