Looking to help the visiting Rangers continue to surge without one of their star hitters, Darvish looks for a third straight winning start over the Angels on Tuesday night.
Since missing a little more than two weeks with a back strain, Darvish (10-5, 2.66 ERA) has allowed one run, 10 hits and struck out 29 over 19 1-3 innings while going 2-1. He matched his major league high with 14 strikeouts and yielded five hits without a walk in seven innings of a 7-1 victory over Arizona on Thursday in his 50th major league start."He was as good as I've seen him all year, counting the almost perfect game he threw the first start of the year. His stuff was just nasty," Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski said."He just kept mixing it up, and the strikeouts just kept coming and coming. Nights like that are fun."
Darvish has fanned at least 10 batters 16 times in less than two seasons. With 20, Dwight Gooden is the only other pitcher since 1900 with more through his first 50 starts.
The right-hander is 5-1 with a 3.83 ERA and 65 strikeouts in eight starts versus Los Angeles (51-60), including 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 2013. Darvish, who missed the Angels when Texas swept them at Arlington last week, gave up three hits and fanned 11 in six scoreless innings of an 11-3 win at Anaheim on April 24.
The same day the Rangers (63-50) learned All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz received a 50-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, Adrian Beltre homered and Elvis Andrus had two RBIs in a 5-2 win at Los Angeles on Monday.
Winners in two straight and seven of eight since dropping 12 of 15, Texas is two games behind AL West-leading Oakland. The Rangers appear poised to succeed without Cruz, who leads the team with 27 homers and 76 RBIs."We're not going to stop putting runs on the board," manager Ron Washington said. "We've got to play the same way that we've always played - maybe with a little less power because Cruz isn't out there."
Beltre is batting .406 with two homers and seven RBIs in eight games. He's hit .366 with three home runs this season versus Los Angeles, but is 1 for 6 with a homer against scheduled starter Garrett Richards (3-4, 4.18).
The right-hander has allowed two runs and seven hits in 12 innings over two starts since replacing Joe Blanton in the rotation July 27. He surrendered those runs and four hits in seven innings of an 8-2 victory over Toronto on Thursday.
"I'm trying to make the most of my opportunity right now," Richards told the Angels' official website.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.26 ERA in six starts this season, and has a 4.76 ERA with no decisions in three versus Texas.
He won't have to face second baseman Howie Kendrick , who hyperextended his left knee trying to catch a popup in short right field Monday."Hopefully it'll only be a couple of days," Kendrick said.
Los Angeles' Mike Trout is 0 for 5 with a walk and three strikeouts against Darvish this season, but can set a record for Angels outfielders after he reached base for the 36th consecutive game Monday. He's batting .438 (14 for 32) with 18 walks in the last 11.
The Angels have lost two straight and eight of 11.
|August 03, 2013||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Lower body|
|July 12, 2013||Justin Grimm||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right forearm|
|July 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||15-Day DL||Upper back strain|
|July 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||15-Day DL||Upper back strain|
|July 07, 2013||Lance Berkman||15-Day DL||Left hip inflammation|
|July 06, 2013||Nick Tepesch||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|August 05, 2013||Howie Kendrick||Day-to-Day||Hyperextended left knee|
|July 27, 2013||Albert Pujols||15-Day DL||Plantar fasciitis|
|July 27, 2013||Albert Pujols||Day-to-Day||Plantar fasciitis|
|June 30, 2013||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Nondisplaced bone fracture, right wrist|
|June 29, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Left game - right wrist|
|June 23, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Left game - left thumb injury|
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Texas Rangers realize they'll have to be resourceful on offense to make the postseason without suspended slugger Nelson Cruz .
When they scored eight runs without an extra-base hit Tuesday night, manager Ron Washington was thrilled - but not at all surprised.
"What's the difference between small-ball and winning baseball?" he asked. "Aggression is always going to be our game."
Adrian Beltre drove in the tiebreaking run in the eighth, Yu Darvish pitched seven solid innings, and the Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-3 for their eighth win in nine games.
Elvis Andrus had three hits and scored the go-ahead run as the Rangers won their third straight and moved within one game of AL West-leading Oakland, which lost at Cincinnati.
The Rangers broke open a tight game with Beltre's single against Kevin Jepsen (1-3), and they poured it on with a symphony of small-ball brilliance with a four-run ninth. Texas pounded out 12 singles, stole six bases, capitalized on errors and wild pitches, and got a crafty effort from Darvish (11-5) without his best stuff.
To Washington, that's Rangers baseball in its purest form.
"It was quite exciting to be able to go out there and play the game we love to play," Washington said. "It was a night when it all came together, but it's always been an emphasis. I call that winning baseball."
Texas batted around in the ninth against Los Angeles' hapless bullpen - with help from two more stolen bases. Craig Gentry scored all the way from second base when Calhoun botched a grounder at first, and Andrus singled home Leonys Martin - who had just stolen second even as the Angels pitched out - before Beltre added another RBI single.
"We have to create opportunities for ourselves," Andrus said. "We have to put balance in our offense. We lost a power guy (in Cruz), but we know we can create opportunities and score runs. You don't always win games hitting homers."
Darvish allowed eight hits in his least effective start since returning from the disabled list late last month, but the majors' strikeouts leader still escaped a seventh-inning jam and got the win.
Darvish added six more strikeouts to his total, but also walked three after allowing multiple homers in the same inning for the first time in his major league career. The Japanese right-hander had allowed just one earned run in his previous three starts combined.
Tanner Scheppers pitched two scoreless innings for his first save of the season.
Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout led off the first inning with back-to-back homers for the Angels, who have lost nine of 12. Los Angeles held a closed-doors team meeting after the Rangers schooled them in practically every fine aspect of the game - particularly with those season-worst six stolen bases allowed, which manager Mike Scioscia blamed on the Angels' pitchers, not catcher Chris Iannetta .
"This is about the inability of some of our pitchers to make some adjustments they need to make," Scioscia said. "And the reality of it is, if this is going to become an instructional league, we have to make some changes, because guys up here should be able to do a better job."
Grant Green had his first two major league hits in his debut for the Angels, who have lost nine of 11 meetings with the division rival Rangers this season. Los Angeles has struggled against aggressive baserunning teams all season, but the Rangers turned it up another notch.
"We've got to do a better job of shutting down the running game as a team," Iannetta said. "That's our focus. They picked their spots really well."
Calhoun and Trout delivered two-out singles against Darvish in the seventh, but Josh Hamilton flied to center on Darvish's 113th pitch.
Hamilton went 0 for 4 against his former Texas teammates, dropping his average below .220 and making him 2 for 21 on the Angels' homestand. The $125 million outfielder is batting .167 (15 for 90) with runners in scoring position in his first season with Los Angeles.
Garrett Richards allowed six hits and three runs in a decent six-inning start for the Angels, striking out five.
After the Rangers stole two bases and took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Richards' second wild pitch of the inning, Calhoun and Trout quickly evened it with just the second back-to-back leadoff homers in Angels franchise history. Calhoun's homer was the rookie's third in a week, while Trout reached base in his 37th consecutive game with his 19th homer.
Green got his first major league hit in his first plate appearance for the Angels, who acquired the Anaheim native from Oakland last week in a trade for Alberto Callaspo .
With Howie Kendrick sidelined at least until the weekend with a sprained left knee, Green came up from the minors and immediately started at second base.
NOTES: Engel Beltre moved over to right field after David Murphy misplayed two balls at the position Monday night in the Rangers' first game without Cruz. ... The Angels hit back-to-back homers for just the second time all year. Albert Pujols and Hamilton did it July 10. ... Trout is the first player to hit three career homers off Darvish. ... Green went 0 for 15 in his first major league experience with Oakland last month.