After calling Chicago home for eight seasons, A.J. Pierzynski has settled in nicely with the Texas Rangers .
Yu Darvish is especially glad to have him behind the plate.
Pierzynski faces his former team for the first time as the Rangers open a three-game set against the visiting White Sox on Tuesday night.
A fan favorite from 2005-12, Pierzynski helped lead Chicago to a World Series championship during his first year with the club. The two sides, though, went in different directions this offseason, with the White Sox (10-14) turning to Tyler Flowers and Hector Gimenez and Pierzynski signing a one-year deal with Texas (16-9).
"I don't know if it makes it any less strange or anything, or more strange," White Sox manager Robin Ventura told MLB's official website. "But you know it will be good to see him. He's chatty. I don't have to bat. So I don't have to listen to that part. I'm sure he'll be chatty."
Batting .303 with two homers during an eight-game hitting streak, Pierzynski has had arguably an even bigger impact behind the plate - especially when it comes to Darvish's development.
"He's an unselfish person, an unselfish catcher and he lets me lead the game," Darvish said through an interpreter. "He lets me pitch my game. I think he's a very good catcher and I really like pitching with him."
Darvish (4-1, 1.65 ERA) has been tremendous in his second season since coming over from Japan, striking out a major league-leading 49 over 32 2-3 innings. He struck out 11 and allowed three hits over six innings in Wednesday's 11-3 road win over the Los Angeles Angels , extending his scoreless innings streak to 18.
"This is about as dominant as I've seen someone," manager Ron Washington said. "This guy is finesse and power. He can do either of those, and because he can do either of those when he's on he can make good hitters look bad. When he's not on, he has enough in his repertoire that he can still hang in the ballgame."
The Rangers could surely use another dominant display from Darvish as they try to bounce back from back-to-back losses for the first time this season. Texas is coming off a four-game split at Minnesota after falling 7-2 on Saturday and 5-0 on Sunday.
"It's hard to win when you don't score any runs," Pierzynski said. "We really didn't have a lot of opportunities."
The Rangers, who prior to Monday hadn't had a day off since April 17, have gone 10 for 54 (.185) with runners in scoring position over their last six games.
"The off day is definitely needed," Washington said. "This is the big leagues. You can't be complaining about the schedule. We're not going to make any excuses."
The White Sox are also looking to avoid a third straight loss after splitting a four-game set against Tampa Bay. Paul Konerko hit a two-run homer in Sunday's 8-3 defeat, Chicago's sixth in nine games.
"We just have to keep grinding," Konerko said.
The White Sox turn to Jose Quintana (2-0, 2.78), who's won back-to-back starts and compiled a 0.96 ERA over his last three. The left-hander gave up two runs and four hits over five-plus innings Wednesday in a 3-2 win over Cleveland.
Quintana allowed one run, two hits and struck out a career-high eight over eight innings in a 2-1 win July 5 in his only appearance against Texas.
In his lone matchup versus Chicago, Darvish was tagged for six runs over 6 1-3 innings of a 9-5 defeat July 27.
The White Sox took six of nine from Texas last season, splitting six games in Arlington.
|Alejandro De Aza||4||.250||1||0||2||0||1||.250||.500||.250|
|Chicago White Sox|
|April 28, 2013||Gavin Floyd||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|April 22, 2013||Hector Gimenez||Day-to-Day||Left shin|
|April 19, 2013||Dayan Viciedo||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|April 10, 2013||Gordon Beckham||15-Day DL||Fractured hamate bone, left wrist|
|April 10, 2013||Angel Sanchez||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|April 09, 2013||Gordon Beckham||Day-to-Day||Left game - nerve irritation, left wrist|
|April 20, 2013||Nick Tepesch||Day-to-Day||Left game - right arm bruise|
|April 11, 2013||Justin Miller||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|April 07, 2013||Matt Harrison||15-Day DL||Inflamed nerve in lower back|
|April 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Left game - blister|
|March 24, 2013||Neftali Feliz||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Joakim Soria||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Yu Darvish could've made things a lot easier on himself if only his foot had found the bag.
The Texas Rangers still won another game, and so did Darvish.
Texas scored six times in the sixth to break it open right after Darvish had missed first base and given up a tying home run, beating the Chicago White Sox 10-6 on Tuesday night.
"If I had touched the bag that would have ended the inning and I wouldn't have given up the home run," Darvish said through his translator. "But I think the home run fired up our team, and we scored a lot of runs after that, so I think it turned out to be a good one."
Darvish (5-1) became the first Texas pitcher in 15 years to win five times in April, overcoming a shaky start with the help of some big hits - and that big inning.
Mitch Moreland , who had three hits, delivered a go-ahead double in the sixth and Adrian Beltre capped the burst with a two-run homer. The bases were loaded when Beltre got to the plate before two wild pitches by Nate Jones allowed two runs.
The Rangers were coming off consecutive losses for the first time this season, and were shut out in Minnesota in their last game Sunday.
"We were what, 11 innings before we scored a run, then we got some big hits, and just kept coming," manager Ron Washington said.
Nelson Cruz and Jeff Baker homered on consecutive pitches in the fourth off White Sox starter Jose Quintana . Texas scored twice more in the fifth when Ian Kinsler had his fifth double in five games, driving in a run before he scored on a single by Elvis Andrus .
Geovany Soto drew a one-out walk in the sixth off reliever Matt Lindstrom (1-2). Moreland's double made it 5-4, and he scored on a single by Kinsler.
The last Texas pitchers to win five games in April were Aaron Sele and Rick Helling in 1998. Darvish leads the majors with 58 strikeouts in 38 2-3 innings and nine more in his six innings.
Darvish had thrown 18 consecutive scoreless innings before the White Sox, whose .229 batting average coming into the game was tied for the worst in the AL, scored twice and had four hits only six batters into the game. Darvish had allowed three hits in each of his three previous starts.
"I really couldn't get into my rhythm from the beginning, and it wasn't really a smooth outing," Darvish said.
"He had a rough first inning, then he put up four zeroes," Washington said. "It all started when he didn't touch first base, but he left a breaking ball up, the first mistake I felt like he made. Fortunate enough, we were able to put some runs on the board to pick him up. He picked us up."
Chicago got even at 4 with two outs in the sixth when Dewayne Wise hit a two-run homer, the first home run off Darvish this season. That came a batter after Darvish failed to get his foot down on first base to complete what would have been an inning-ending double play.
Moreland fielded Hector Gimenez 's grounder to first and threw to second. Darvish took shortstop Elvis Andrus ' relay throw and caught the ball in time for the out, but he wasn't on the base and unsuccessfully reached back to try to touch it with his foot.
Darvish immediately patted his chest with his hand, acknowledging his mistake, and even smiled. A few seconds later, he hung a slow breaking pitch over the center of the plate to Wise, who snapped an 0-for-15 slide with four hits. Darvish then struck out Alejandro De Aza to end the inning.
After scoring two quick runs, the White Sox had two runners on with one out in the second without scoring.
"You're not going to get all of them, but you miss those opportunities and you kick yourself. You have those opportunities and you got to try to cash them in," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "You get a couple in the first, you come up again and you get two guys on, and you think, a base hit right here, you're feeling pretty good about it. But he's not easy to hit, either, so it makes it tough. `'
NOTES: Quintana allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. ... Moreland is hitting .429 (15 for 35) his last nine games. ... 3B Mike Olt , who made his major league debut with the Rangers last year and is one of the team's top prospects at Triple-A Round Rock, hasn't played since Thursday after saying he was having vision problems. General manager Jon Daniels said Olt was visiting doctors in the Arlington area Tuesday. Olt is hitting only .139 this season, and his struggles could be related to the unspecified issues with his eyesight.