Baseball's strikeout leader gets ready to face a struggling Minnesota Twins team that strikes out often in the opener of a three-game home set.
Texas (78-55) has posted a 3.09 ERA during this 26-game run since July 31 after recording a 3.77 ERA in its first 107 contests. It's the longest such streak in club history and longest in the majors since the Los Angeles Dodgers did it 31 games in a row Aug. 10-Sept. 12, 2009. It's the longest AL streak since 1972.
Darvish (12-5, 2.68 ERA) will try and conclude an unbeaten August in which he is 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA and 53 strikeouts over 36 1-3 innings to take his season total to 225.
"We expect him to perform and he expects to perform," manager Ron Washington told the Rangers' official website. "Some days it happens, some days he has to fight and battle through it. But he's been able to do it both ways."
The Rangers have dropped his last two outings, with Darvish yielding two runs over seven innings last Saturday with 11 strikeouts in a 3-2 walkoff loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Darvish has faced the Twins once, yielding two runs over 5 2-3 innings and not getting a decision in a 6-2 victory April 14, 2012, his second big-league start.
Minnesota (57-75) has struck out 1,135 times for the AL's second-highest total. The Twins have totaled six runs and fanned 49 times during a five-game losing streak.
The Rangers, who lead the AL West by three games over Oakland, are back home after a 4-2 trip capped by a three-game sweep in Seattle with Wednesday's 12-4 rout. They are seeking to win 20 games in a month for the first time since going 21-6 in June 2010.
Texas isn't taking anything for granted this weekend even though Twins star Joe Mauer won't travel to Arlington due to a concussion. These teams split four games April 25-28 in Minnesota.
"All those young kids are starting to perform better and starting to compete," Washington said. " Minnesota Twins teams usually compete well. They're so young. They have a couple of veterans, but for the most part they are a young team. But they will give you a tough time."
The Rangers have faced Minnesota starter Liam Hendriks (0-2, 6.20) once. The right-hander allowed one run over six innings and did not get a decision in a 4-3 loss April 15, 2012.
Hendriks matched a career high by surrendering seven runs over 4 1-3 innings in last Saturday's 7-2 loss at Cleveland. He was recalled to take the rotation spot of the ineffective Kyle Gibson , who was sent to Triple-A Rochester last week.
Hendriks will face a tough matchup against Adrian Beltre , the AL's top hitter in August with a .400 average - his same mark during an eight-game streak.
|August 29, 2013||Wilkin Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left shin injury|
|August 20, 2013||Joe Mauer||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 16, 2013||Oswaldo Arcia||Day-to-Day||Sore wrist|
|August 08, 2013||Ryan Doumit||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 08, 2013||Ryan Doumit||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|July 01, 2013||Josh Willingham||15-Day DL||Medial meniscus tear, left knee|
|August 25, 2013||Leonys Martin||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|August 20, 2013||Matt West||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|August 16, 2013||Alexi Ogando||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 14, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 03, 2013||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Lower body|
|July 12, 2013||Justin Grimm||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right forearm|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- With Nolan Ryan watching from the front row, Yu Darvish looked as if he might have the no-hit stuff that made Big Tex so special.
Then it all fell apart.
Darvish's latest no-hit bid got broken up in a big way when Chris Herrmann hit a tying, two-run homer in the seventh inning and Justin Morneau followed with a home run that sent the Minnesota Twins over the Texas Rangers 3-2 Friday night.
"In that situation in the seventh inning, I told myself I can't allow a home run," Darvish, who has taken three no-hitters into the seventh inning this season, said through an interpreter. "And as soon as I told myself that, you know what happened."
Minnesota snapped a five-game losing streak on a night when it looked as if the strikeout-prone Twins had no chance against the major league strikeout leader.
Instead, Darvish (12-6) had a third straight start without a win and the right-hander's home run total jumped to 22 after the Japanese ace allowed 14 his entire rookie season.
Ryan, the Rangers' CEO who had the last two of his record seven no-hitters with Texas in 1990 and 1991, watched Darvish face the minimum number of batters with 10 strikeouts through six innings.
But Darvish didn't make it out of the seventh. He walked Brian Dozier to start the inning - the Twins' second baserunner of the game - and Herrmann drove a fastball down the right-field line for a 2-all tie.
Four pitches later, Morneau hit a hanging slider 409 feet into the upper deck in right.
Darvish got Josh Willingham for his 11th strikeout and Ryan Doumit flied out. But manager Ron Washington pulled Darvish after a double by Trevor Plouffe , who struck out his first two times on a 94 mph fastball and a 61 mph curve.
"He made two mistakes and they didn't miss them," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "Strikeouts are great, but the biggest thing is we've got to win the game."
Herrmann is from the Houston area, and his parents and brother were watching him play in the big leagues for the first time.
"I just feel like after that home run happened, he just kind of got rattled and things just kind of went haywire for him," said Herrmann, who had four homers. "I was the one that started it and things just got a little crazy for him, and, I don't know, it was nice. It was fun."
Twins starter Liam Hendriks (1-2) got his second career win by holding Texas to two runs - one earned - in six innings.
Glen Perkins struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 31st save in 34 chances after relievers Brian Duensing and Josh Roenicke pitched around a one-out triple by Craig Gentry in the seventh.
"You can't really think about it too much," Hendriks, the Australian right-hander, said of watching Darvish dominate on the other side. "It's me against their hitters and I need to try to match up my best and see what I can do against their guys. It was quick innings, so I didn't get too much of a breather some of the time."
Darvish's other two no-hit bids came in Houston. He was an out away from a perfect game on April 2 before a single by Marwin Gonzalez , then pitched 7 1-3 hitless innings before a home run by Carlos Corporan on Aug. 12.
Darvish gave up three hits in 6 2-3 innings and finished with 11 strikeouts - his 11th double-digit strikeout game of the season. He now has 236 strikeouts, second to Ryan's franchise record of 301 in 1989.
For the first six innings, the Twins didn't even come close to a hit while Darvish piled up 10 strikeouts.
Ninth-place hitter Pedro Florimon was so flustered he thought he had walked on a 2-2 count in the sixth - one pitch after third-base umpire Tim McClelland kept his at-bat alive after ruling he checked his swing on 1-2. Darvish waved Florimon back to the plate as he walked down the first-base line, then struck him out on the full count.
"That we were going to get him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of what he was thinking after six innings. "Always think that way. He was punching us out, absolutely. But we also had a couple of guys put some swings on him, so you've just got to figure out a way. You've just got to hang in there."
Jurickson Profar 's solo home run in the third for Texas was the first hit of the game. His fifth homer was a 399-foot drive off the facing of the upper deck in right field. Profar had a potential run-scoring hit taken away in the fourth on a diving play by Dozier at second.
Ian Kinsler led off the fourth with a walk, stole second with one out and went to third on a throwing error by Herrmann, the catcher. Kinsler scored on a slow roller to first by A.J. Pierzynski.
NOTES: Rangers RHP Neftali Feliz will skip his final rehab appearance Saturday and be activated when rosters expand Sunday. The closer turned starter hasn't pitched in the majors since May 18, 2012. He will be in the bullpen.