Rangers 7, Mariners 0
- You sometimes hear announcers say about certain really good pitchers -- Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia come to mind -- that you have to get to them early, or else you're going to have trouble getting to them at all. While I don't think the numbers necessarily bear it out, it certainly feels that way with Yu Darvish, and tonight was a perfect example. Darvish struggled with his fastball command early, and there were worries about how deep he'd be able to go into the game after crossing the 40 pitch mark in the second inning. Darvish faced 9 batters in the first two innings, and while he recorded all 6 outs on strikeouts, he also walked two batters, gave up a single, and seemed to be struggle to locate his pitches. But after allowing a Kyle Seager double with one out in the third, Darvish settled down and allowed only a walk and an infield single over the rest of his seven inning stint.
- Darvish's final line on the night -- 7 innings, 3 hits, 3 walks, 10 Ks, no runs. Darvish now has a 2.02 ERA on the season, and is allowing opposing batters to hit .144 and slug .189 on the season.
- The bullpen kept the shutout intact, holding the M's scoreless over the final two innings. Robbie Ross pitched the eighth and recorded all three outs in the inning on strikeouts, while allowing three baserunners on a single, an HBP, and an Ian Kinsler error. Michael Kirkman allowed a single to pinch hitter Jason Bay to lead off the 9th, but then got Kelly Shoppach to fly out and Brendan Ryan to bounce into a game-ending double play.
- Jeff Baker and Craig Gentry both started with lefty Joe Saunders on the mound for the M's, with Mitch Moreland and Leonys Martin sitting. I thought coming into the season that Geovany Soto might end up catching against lefties and when Yu Darvish (who he was paired with last season) pitched, but A.J. Pierzynski started today with Darvish starting and a lefty on the mound, so that theory appears shot.
- Baker got the scoring started with a long home run in the 2nd that put the Rangers up 1-0. The Rangers kept having opportunities against Saunders in the early innings, but the offense wasn't taking advantage, and at one point it looked like it was going to be one of those frustrating games we've seen too often lately where runners get stranded and Texas can't get the big inning going.
- But then the fifth inning rolled around, and after Elvis Andrus started the inning with a sharply hit comebacker that resulted in a bad luck out (more on that later), Texas loaded the bases on a Berkman single, Beltre walk, and Cruz single. A.J. Pierzynski then singled home a pair of runs, Jeff Baker walked to re-load the bases, David Murphy brought home a run on a ground out to first, and then Craig Gentry tripled home a pair of runs on a triple to left that should have been a single, but that Raul Ibanez did this on:
(h/t to DShep on the gif)
- Ian Kinsler then doubled off of reliever Hector Noesi, to get the score up to 7-0, ensure half-price pizza for denizens of North Texas, and finish off the scoring for the day.
- Elvis Andrus went 0 for 5 today, but he easily could have had 3 or 4 hits. In the first inning, after Ian Kinsler got on base with an error, Elvis hit a rocket that Robert Andino made a diving stop on, robbing him of a hit. Elvis had hard hit balls in both the third and in the fifth that were turned into 6-3 plays, as well, and his average on the season has dropped down to .206. Elvis is hitting the ball well, though, and you have to figure some of those balls are going to find holes sooner or later.
- David Murphy also showed some signs of life, getting a pair of hits off of a lefty starter and bringing his average on the season up to .175. Also picking up a pair of hits today was Craig Gentry, who went 2 for 4. Every other starter, other than Elvis, had a base hit.