Yu Darvish hasn't lost since he faced Oakland last month, and his manager believes the Athletics will see a different pitcher than the one they saw in that outing.
The Japanese right-hander seeks his eighth win in as many home starts Sunday night when the Texas Rangers seek a sixth straight victory and a four-game sweep of Oakland.
Darvish (10-4, 3.57 ERA) is 3-0 with 29 strikeouts and a 3.13 ERA in three outings since he gave up six runs and struck out four over 5 1-3 innings of a 7-1 loss at Oakland (37-42) on June 7. He fell to 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA in two starts against the Athletics.
"They can be damn sure it's not going to be the Darvish they saw in Oakland," manager Ron Washington told the Rangers' official website. "It's not going to be that Darvish. I don't know what the results are going to be but they won't see that Darvish."
Darvish claimed Friday that he didn't deserve to be on the All-Star team, but his 10 victories lead all rookies and he's 7-0 with a 3.45 ERA in his first seven home outings. AL manager Washington has decided on the team, which will be announced Sunday.
Darvish realizes his 50 walks and a walks-per-nine inning ratio of 4.70 both rank among the worst marks in baseball.
"Whether I'm not leading anymore, still I'm giving up more walks than I should," he said through a translator. "That's something that I'm going to improve on in the future."
Texas (50-29) became the first team to reach 50 victories with Saturday's 7-2 win, its 17th in 21 games.
Josh Hamilton homered and drove in four runs to lead the Rangers. He is 7 for 22 with three homers and nine RBIs over his last six games after hitting .211 during an 11-game homerless drought."I'm doing absolutely nothing differently," Hamilton said. "It's just baseball. You go through spurts like that."
Oakland committed two errors in the fifth inning Saturday that led to five unearned runs, including a miscue from shortstop Brandon Hicks right before Hamilton homered.
"You can't do that here," manager Bob Melvin said. "With that lineup and in this park, you can't give them freebies."
A's slugger Yoenis Cespedes continues to tear up Texas pitching. He's 13 for 24 with seven RBIs while hitting safely in all seven matchups in which he's appeared between the clubs.
Oakland first baseman Chris Carter has hit solo homers in each of the last two games since being called up from the minors, going 3 for 7 with four runs scored.
A's starter Travis Blackley (1-2, 3.05) is 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in seven career road starts, including 0-1 despite a 3.24 ERA in three this year. He gave up two runs over seven innings Tuesday and did not receive a decision in a 3-2 defeat at Seattle.
The left-hander won his big-league debut in 2004 against the Rangers, while with the Mariners. He didn't fare as well June 5 in a 6-3 home loss to Texas, yielding five runs over 4 2-3 innings.
|June 23, 2012||Collin Cowgill||15-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|June 20, 2012||Brandon McCarthy||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|June 18, 2012||Bartolo Colon||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|June 17, 2012||Bartolo Colon||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|June 13, 2012||Yoenis Cespedes||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left hamstring|
|June 06, 2012||Andrew Carignan||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|June 26, 2012||Mark Lowe||15-Day DL||Strained right intercostal muscle|
|June 24, 2012||Colby Lewis||15-Day DL||Right forearm tendinitis|
|June 24, 2012||Matt Harrison||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hip soreness|
|June 20, 2012||Mitch Moreland||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|June 16, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Intestinal virus|
|June 14, 2012||Koji Uehara||Day-to-Day||Strained right lat muscle|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Yu Darvish finally lost a game at home for the Texas Rangers .
Except for a couple of pitches, it was still an All-Star worthy performance. Now fans will determine if the Japanese ace gets to go to Kansas City with seven of his teammates and his manager.
Darvish threw a wild pitch that allowed the tiebreaking run and gave up a long homer as Texas lost 3-1 to the Oakland Athletics despite his 11 strikeouts Sunday night.
"Before tonight, winning those seven games at home, it's not like I pitched great every single time, automatically win games," he said through his translator. "There's some games maybe I should have lost, but the hitters picked me up, the relievers picked me up, kind of help me accomplish that. It's a very unfortunate loss."
The fifth 10-strikeout game for Darvish (10-5) matched NL All-Star pitcher R.A. Dickey for the most in the majors this year. The 11 Ks equaled his season high for Darvish, who had been only the second major leaguer in a half-century to win his first seven career home starts.
Brandon Moss homered for Oakland and Travis Blackley (2-2), the left-hander claimed off waivers in mid-May, picked off two runners while holding a lineup loaded All-Stars to one run over seven innings.
"For him to be pitching as well as he is at the big-league level is really a testament to a guy who has persevered," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "It's good to see a guy who's gone through a lot and worked so hard and now having success."
Ryan Cook , Oakland's only All-Star pick, worked a perfect ninth for his seventh save in 10 chances.
The A's got Blackley after he was designated for assignment by San Francisco. He is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA his last four starts, including his win June 15 against San Diego that was his first in the majors since July 1, 2004.
Though Darvish was left off the initial AL All-Star roster announced earlier Sunday, the right-hander is one of five pitchers who are candidates for the final spot that will be determined by fans voting online through Thursday.
Texas (50-30), still with the best record in the majors, had its five-game winning streak snapped. The Rangers have won seven consecutive series after winning the first three games against Oakland.
After Darvish got his 10th strikeout in the sixth, and before his 11th to end the inning, Yoenis Cespedes doubled down the right-field line before a wild pitch on a strange play that put Oakland up 2-1.
"I made a very good pitch, location was very good, he just hit it, he's a very good hitter," Darvish said. "After that, the wild pitch that scored a run, that's a very important at-bat where I have to give it my all. I didn't make the pitch and the wild pitch was kind of unfortunate."
The speedy Jemile Weeks , who reached on a fielder's choice, stopped at third. But Darvish threw a pitch that bounced under the feet of a hopping batter Seth Smith and the mitt of catcher Yorvit Torrealba then bounced off umpire Manny Gonzalez and in front of the plate.
Weeks slid home safely while Darvish unsuccessfully tried to scoop the ball with his glove toward the plate.
"His off-speed had been his go-to pitch and so I knew he was going to use it at some point during that at-bat," Weeks said. "I was looking for a down off-speed pitch, and if it kicked away, that's a big run against this team. So as soon as I seen it kick, I was gone. ... Any opportunity to score a run, you've got to take."
Moss hit the first pitch of the seventh into the second deck of seats in right field, his eighth homer making it 3-1.
Oakland was the first team Darvish has faced three times, and has lost the last two against the AL West rival.
In the Texas sixth, No. 9 hitter Craig Gentry led off with a drive to straightaway center that bounced off the wall and then the foot of Cespedes. The ball went over the wall and umpires ruled it a double even though Gentry got to third.
Blackley got out of that inning retiring All-Star selections Ian Kinsler , Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton on popups.
Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli , the three Rangers selected by the fans as All-Star starters, were a combined 0-for-9 against Blackley.
Andrus extended his hitting streak to nine games with a first-inning single, but was picked off by Blackley. Torrealba got picked off after a leadoff single in the third.
"He really got me right there," said Andrus, whose RBI single in the third produced the only Texas run. "I saw his body lean to home plate, that's when I was shuffling and stuff, and he did really good."
Notes: Darvish had strikeouts in 14 consecutive innings, the longest streak for a Texas pitcher since 2003, until not having one in the seventh. ... It was Nolan Ryan Snow Monkey Day at Rangers Ballpark, with 10,000 stuffed snow monkeys given to kids 13 and under. The promotion had ties to Ryan's time on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission from 1995-2001, and a hilarious 2008 radio interview that can be found on the Internet in which the Hall of Fame pitcher talks about being the "Unofficial Snow Monkey Ambassador" when the animals were running wild in South Texas. ... Hamilton's bat shattered on his swing leading off the fourth, and the splintered portion helicoptered toward right field. It landed just to the left of second baseman Weeks, who understandably bobbled the ball briefly before throwing to first for the out.