More than a year later in the rematch - the 11th matchup between Japanese starting pitchers in major league history - it's Darvish trying to put the brakes on the longest winless stretch of his career Tuesday night in New York.
The meeting April 24, 2012, was only the fourth career big league start for Darvish and captivated Japan as it was broadcast live across the country. Darvish struck out 10 while throwing 8 1-3 innings in a 2-0 victory in Texas. Kuroda yielded two runs in 6 2-3 innings.
But Darvish (7-3, 2.84 ERA) is 0-2 in six starts since May 16 despite a 2.66 ERA. Texas (44-32) has supplied him with an average of 1.99 runs of support in those outings.
He struck out 10 against Oakland last Tuesday, increasing his baseball-leading total to 137, but also allowed a season-high five runs over six innings in a 6-2 defeat.
"I didn't feel that I pitched badly but I think I gave up runs too easily," said Darvish, who never went more than six straight starts without a win during seven seasons in Japan. He hadn't gone more than three in a row in the majors without winning.
Kuroda (7-5, 2.78) also saw a dearth of run support during a five-start winless streak from May 22-June 13, receiving five runs over 28 2-3 innings. He put the skid to an end Wednesday with 6 2-3 innings of two-run ball in a 6-4 victory over the Dodgers.
Last April's meeting was Kuroda's second loss in as many career starts versus Texas before a two-hit shutout in a 3-0 win for the Yankees (41-34) in the Bronx on Aug. 14.
Compatriot Ichiro Suzuki , who has one hit in four straight games, went 6 for 11 against Darvish last season with a double and a triple.
Darvish, originally slated to start Sunday, will be pitching on six days' rest. He's 6-1 with a 3.04 ERA with that much time off, including wins in two such outings this season while throwing 15 2-3 scoreless innings.
Texas didn't miss him Sunday, completing a three-game sweep with a 2-1 win in its first visit to St. Louis since losing Game 7 of the 2011 World Series. It was the club's fifth consecutive victory after losing seven of eight and the first time the Cardinals have been swept this season.
"It says a lot when you sweep a team that's that talented, so I think that's definitely a boost," said Daniel Murphy , who went 2 for 4 with a double. "We had a lot of fun, we played with energy and we did exactly what we wanted to."
After totaling 13 runs in back-to-back wins over Tampa Bay, the Yankees were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position in a 3-1 defeat to the Rays on Sunday.
Rookie Zoilo Almonte remained hot with two doubles in four at-bats, improving to 7 for 12 with four RBIs in five major league games.
Ian Kinsler is 11 for 27 with six RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak but went hitless in 11 at-bats in the teams' series in New York last season. Nelson Cruz has hit .379 with 11 RBIs over his last seven games but is batting .191 in 34 games against the Yankees.
New York has won 11 of 13 against Texas at Yankee Stadium.
|June 21, 2013||Craig Gentry||15-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
|June 13, 2013||Jeff Baker||15-Day DL||Sprained right thumb|
|June 07, 2013||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|June 07, 2013||Michael Kirkman||60-Day DL||Cutaneous lymphoma in right triceps|
|June 06, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 06, 2013||Mitch Moreland||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|New York Yankees|
|June 16, 2013||Mark Teixeira||15-Day DL||Right wrist inflammation|
|June 15, 2013||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Wrist|
|June 14, 2013||Kevin Youkilis||15-Day DL||Lumbar spine strain|
|June 01, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left game - dehydration|
|May 25, 2013||Curtis Granderson||15-Day DL||Broken left pinkie finger|
|May 24, 2013||Curtis Granderson||Day-to-Day||Left game - Broken left pinkie finger|
NEW YORK (AP) -- A few innings after a matchup between Japanese aces Yu Darvish and Hiroki Kuroda was spoiled by five home runs, Ichiro Suzuki finished off the Texas Rangers with a long ball of his own.
Suzuki homered off Tanner Scheppers with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the New York Yankees to a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
"Love it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Sometimes it's tough to score runs when you're not hitting home runs. We got enough tonight."
Suzuki's drive to right-center was the Yankees' fourth home run of the game, three coming off Darvish, and it helped New York improve to 4-3 on a homestand that ends after two more games against the Rangers.
"I think it was just the wrong pitch at the wrong time," Scheppers said. "I probably showed him too many fastballs in that at-bat. Probably should have went with something different."
The Bronx Bombers were coming off a stretch in which they hit just four homers in 15 games, going 6-9. Other than Travis Hafner on Tuesday, the contributions came from some unlikely sources.
Brett Gardner and Jayson Nix also homered off Darvish, who hasn't won in seven starts. Suzuki's drive was his fourth of the year.
"Anyone can contribute, that's the great thing about this game," Girardi said. "When you have a bat in your hand, you can be part of the story."
Texas also had an unlikely power source: No. 9 hitter Leonys Martin connected twice off Kuroda.
Mariano Rivera (1-1) worked a scoreless ninth for New York, which ended the Rangers' five-game winning streak.
Scheppers (5-1) pitched a perfect eighth before being touched up by Suzuki in New York's first walk-off win this year.
The anticipated matchup between Darvish and Kuroda, Japanese aces with ERAs under 3.00, fizzled on a hot and sticky night when a four-inning stretch produced five home runs.
The 11th major league matchup between starters from Japan got off to a sharp start. Even when the Yankees loaded the bases in the first on three straight singles that just cleared the gloves of leaping infielders, Darvish easily got out of the jam with a strikeout and an easy grounder.
But Martin started the home run barrage with a shot that landed a couple of rows back in the short right field porch.
"The home runs I gave up, that was bad, but otherwise I think I pitched well," Kuroda said through a translator.
After the Rangers went up 2-0 on an unearned run in the fourth aided by rookie third baseman David Adams ' throwing error, Hafner led off the bottom half with a long ball into the New York bullpen. Martin then started the fifth with a shot that landed several sections to the left of his first homer for his fifth of the year.
Not to be outdone, Gardner led off the Yankees' half with a line drive deep into the seats in right field to pull New York to 3-2.
Kuroda had his first perfect inning since the second in the sixth. And Nix promptly tied it with a soaring fly to left field that cleared the wall by several rows, snapping his homerless string at 202 at-bats. Nix last homered on April 7.
Darvish was done two batters later, having allowed the most homers of his big league career in 45 starts. He hasn't won since beating Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers on May 16.
Pitching on extra rest because Texas chose to bring up top pitching prospect Martin Perez to start against St. Louis on Saturday and push everyone back a day, Darvish struck out six. He yielded seven hits and three runs.
"He wasn't at his best. I think we had him twice with two-run leads," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He tried to get a cutter in on Gardner and didn't get it there and then he hung two breaking balls. They worked him and made him throw some pitches."
Kuroda lasted into the seventh, lifted before facing Martin again. Boone Logan came in and struck out the No. 9 hitter.
Kuroda matched his line from the last time he faced Darvish on April 24, 2012 - two earned runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings. He also struck out six.
Texas took advantage of Adams' throwing error on Adrian Beltre 's grounder to go up 2-0 in the fourth. Beltre reached when Adams' long throw skidded past first baseman Lyle Overbay with one out. A.J. Pierzynski and Lance Berkman each singled to load the bases before Mitch Moreland 's grounder to second base was too slow for Robinson Cano to start a double play, allowing a run to score.
With runners on first and third, David Murphy then hit a grounder that shortstop Nix fielded deep behind second base. He made a strong throw for the third out.
NOTES: Chris Stewart threw two runners out trying to steal and Pierzynski one. ... Beltre made two errors. ... Girardi said 1B Mark Teixeira (right wrist inflammation) was going to see a doctor Tuesday but had no update after the game. Teixeira hasn't played since pulling himself from a game June 15 and Girardi said he is concerned about Teixeira because he is showing no improvement. ... Washington said he will find playing time for INF Jurickson Profar in this series. Profar's playing time has been curtailed since Ian Kinsler returned from the disabled list on June 15.