Darvish (10-5, 3.59 ERA) enters the second half as a strong contender for AL rookie of the year as he's among that league leaders in victories and strikeouts (117). That's exactly what the Rangers (53-34) were looking for when they signed him to a six-year, $56 million deal in January.
Before coming to the major leagues, Darvish was a two-time MVP and five-time All-Star over seven seasons in Japan.
"With Yu Darvish , I think he's come over to the United States under some very tough circumstances," manager Ron Washington told the team's website. "Not knowing anything about the league, not knowing anything about the players, having to adjust to the baseball, having to adjust to the mound, having to adjust to the different culture shock that he has to go through.
"And I truly believe because he's a tremendous athlete and he's a tremendous young man, he's made adjustments faster than we expected."
For all his highlights, Darvish hasn't produced any against light-hitting Seattle (36-52) as he's 1-1 with an 8.38 ERA in two matchups. He hasn't posted an ERA higher than 4.50 against the other nine teams he's faced.
During his most recent matchup with the Mariners, Darvish gave up five runs and six walks over four innings at Safeco Field on May 21. Hernandez (6-5, 3.13), meanwhile, allowed one run over eight innings and struck out seven during that 6-1 win, which snapped a personal four-game skid against Texas.
Hernandez, among the AL leaders with 128 strikeouts, is 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA over his last five starts but has received one run or fewer in four of those outings. He got one run in Oakland on Sunday and did not get a decision despite allowing one run over 7 2-3 innings.
Seattle is batting .183 with 32 runs scored in its last 15 games, and was shut out for the first eight innings of Friday's series opener, a 3-2 defeat.
"Those guys, they're trying very hard," Hernandez said. "They want to score runs. I believe in this team. I believe in these guys. We're going to be better. It cannot happen all the time so we're going to be better."
Adrian Beltre , meanwhile, hit a two-run homer as Texas won its third in a row following a season-high five-game skid. Beltre is hitting .398 with six homers and 19 RBIs over his last 24 games, and .340 in his last 12 matchups with his former club.
The third baseman is 3 for 12 (.250) with one home run all-time against Hernandez, while Josh Hamilton has fared even worse, going 8 for 45 (.178) with 13 strikeouts, his most versus any pitcher in his career.
Ichiro Suzuki , a former three-time MVP in Japan, is 5 for 7 with a triple and a double against Darvish.
|July 06, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Lower back spasms|
|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|
|July 01, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|June 30, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left game - leg injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Left Game-Head Injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 27, 2012||Kevin Millwood||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right groin|
|June 13, 2012||Stephen Pryor||15-Day DL||Strained left groin|
SEATTLE (AP) -- Felix Hernandez dominated the Texas Rangers again on Saturday night.
Hernandez allowed three singles and struck out 12 in Seattle's 7-0 win Saturday.
"Those guys are dangerous," Hernandez said. "Just tried to throw on the corners."
Hernandez leads the majors in strikeouts with 140.
In two starts against the Rangers this season, he's allowed one run in 17 innings, struck out 19 and given up nine hits.
Rangers starter Yu Darvish (10-6) struggled against the Mariners.
Darvish's lack of control and a couple of grounders put the Mariners up 4-0 in the first inning.
Darvish came into Saturday averaging 9.3 walks per nine innings in his two outings this year against the Mariners.
Darvish walked Dustin Ackley to start Saturday's game, then hit Casper Wells with a 3-2 pitch after Ichiro Suzuki singled. A four-pitch walk to John Jaso followed, scoring Ackley.
Michael Saunders ' hard grounder went off Michael Young 's glove at first for an error. After Justin Smoak popped up, Kyle Seager singled in two more runs.
Darvish ended the 33-pitch inning by striking out Carlos Peguero and Brendan Ryan .
"You put those guys on the bags, and someone will find a way to get a base hit," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "The guys that were on the bags, other than Ichiro, were on for free. Those are the types of things Yu has to continue to work on."
Darvish allowed eight hits, seven earned runs, four walks and four strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings.
Hernandez took advantage of the early run support and cooled off the powerful Rangers' offense. Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz each struck out three times.
"He only needed one run," Ackley said. "It was nice to put those runs up and give him a little cushion. When he's relaxed out there, it's almost impossible."
Cruz's seventh-inning strikeout was the 10th of the game for Hernandez (7-5), the fourth time he has reached at least that mark this season and 20th time in his career.
"As good as I've seen him," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "I've said that a few times lately. Just shows you how special he was tonight. I thought maybe the best fastball we've seen him have this year."
Ackley's first solid contact of the game caromed off Darvish's left shin in the second, and the pitcher threw him out.
"I've got to take a look at it tomorrow and see where I am," Darvish said of his leg. "I really don't think it's going to affect me."
Ackley hit a line drive off the center field wall in the fourth inning to drive in Seager and give the Mariners a 5-0 lead.
Jaso's solo homer to left-center field in the fifth, his fourth this season, pushed Seattle in front 6-0.
Saunders' seventh-inning double to right field drove in Wells, who had singled. Darvish then walked Smoak, which ended his night.
The seven runs allowed were a career high for Darvish, and he has a 9.00 ERA in three starts against Seattle this year. Five of Darvish's six losses are on the road.
Notes: The Rangers recalled catcher Luis Martinez and option RHP Yoshinori Tateyama to Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday. Martinez provides insurance at catcher, since the Rangers are trying to rest Mike Napoli (thigh bruise) until Tuesday's series in Oakland. ... Hamilton is hitting .167 in his career against Hernandez. ... Seattle scored five-plus runs for just the 30th time this season.