|Darvish breaks drought as Texas beats Reds 3-2|
|Monday, July 01, 2013 12:15 AM|
ARLINGTON, Texas — Yu Darvish brought the heat to win for the first time in eight starts and the Texas Rangers squeezed out a series-clinching victory.
Relying heavily on his fastball, primarily a 4-seamer, Darvish struck out eight in 6 2/3 scoreless innings and the Rangers scored twice on a squeeze bunt in a 3-2 victory over Mat Latos and the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
“His performance was good. He was going against another good one and they matched zeroes,” manager Ron Washington said. “Once we put the runs on the board, Darvish did what we needed him to do. Looked like the same Darvish to me.”
The Rangers finally scored against Latos (7-2) in the fifth when Elvis Andrus bunted. Latos made a barehanded grab and scoop in one motion. The toss home hit the earflap of Engel Beltre, who was still on the ground when Leonys Martin also scored for a 2-0 lead.
Darvish (8-3) won for the first time since May 16, ending his longest professional winless drought — in his two years with the Rangers or seven in Japan before that. The right-hander was 0-2 with a 2.93 ERA in those seven games, when Texas scored only 12 runs while he was on the mound.
The AL West-leading Rangers have won 10-of-13 games since a 6-game losing streak. Cincinnati has lost 7-of-9.
Darvish threw 77 of his 117 pitches for strikes on a sunny afternoon when the game-time temperature was 90 degrees — 10 degrees cooler than at the start of Friday night’s series opener. While increasing his majors-best strikeout total to 151, he walked four and scattered four hits with only one 1-2-3 inning.
There was an 11-pitch at-bat in the first inning against Brandon Phillips, who didn’t get a breaking ball while at the plate. The first ball didn’t come until the ninth pitch and he eventually struck out to end the inning.
Joe Nathan, the fifth Texas reliever, pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 28 chances.
Latos, 21-6 in his 50 career starts for the Reds, struck out nine and walked two in 6 2/3 innings. He gave up three runs, two of them earned.
Beltre led off the fifth by dragging a bunt past the mound for a hit before Martin’s hustling double. Martin extended his hitting streak to 14 games, matching the longest by a Rangers player this season, on the hit to right-center when he slid inside of second base and reached back to grab it while avoiding the tag.
When sliding into home, Beltre couldn’t steer clear of the ball that ricocheted off his head, nor could he avoid the hard collision with catcher Devin Mesoraco trying to block the plate.
Martin scored and Andrus wound up at second before trainer Jamie Reed and Washington were able to check on Beltre, who got up and walked back to the dugout a couple of minutes later and stayed in the game.
Martin led off the seventh with a single, stole second and scored on a bloop single by Nelson Cruz.
Robbie Ross got the last out of the seventh after taking over for Darvish. Tanner Scheppers made his team-high 39th appearance, after three days off, and threw only two of his nine pitches for strikes.
Scheppers walked Zack Cozart on four pitches in the eighth and gave up consecutive singles to Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips before going to a 2-0 count against Jay Bruce — and being relieved by Neal Cotts. Jay Bruce and pinch-hitter Chris Heisey had consecutive sacrifice flies.
NOTES: The Rangers are off today, their only off day this season that will come in the middle of a homestand. … Texas finished June at 14-14. … Cincinnati has played twice at Rangers Ballpark. The Reds also lost 2-of-3 games in 2002. … The Reds sixth ended when first baseman Mitch Moreland backhanded Xavier Paul’s grounder and threw to second to start a double play. Moreland hustled back to take the relay throw at first when Darvish wasn’t yet at the bag.
DODGERS 6, PHILLIES 1
LOS ANGELES — Yasiel Puig capped his sensational first month in the major leagues with his first 4-hit game, Stephen Fife scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1 Sunday.
Puig finished June with 44 hits, surpassing the 42 by Pittsburgh’s Bob Elliott in September 1939 for the second-most in a player’s first full calendar month in the majors. Joe DiMaggio had 48 in May 1936.
Puig also eclipsed the Los Angeles Dodgers’ record for most hits in a month by a rookie, set by Steve Sax in August 1982. The Cuban-born right fielder got his first major-league triple in the fifth inning and scored on Adrian Gonzalez’s double for a 4-0 lead.
A.J. Ellis had three hits, including an RBI double and threw out two base-runners to help the Dodgers to their eighth victory in nine games.
Fife (3-2) had five strikeouts in his second straight win.
Kyle Kendrick (7-5) gave up four runs and 10 hits in six innings for the Phillies.
PIRATES 2, BREWERS 1, 14 INNINGS
PITTSBURGH — Pinch-hitter Russell Martin singled home the winning run in the 14th inning, lifting Pittsburgh to its ninth straight victory.
The Pirates extended their longest winning streak since 2004 (10 in a row). Pittsburgh reached the midpoint of its season with the best record in the majors at 51-30.
Gaby Sanchez led off the 14th with an infield single. With one out, he stole second for his first steal in more than a year. After a walk, Martin hit a soft liner to center off Francisco Rodriguez (1-1).
Sanchez chugged around third and slid home ahead of the throw by Carlos Gomez.
Tony Watson (2-1) struck out four in three hitless innings as six Pirates relievers held Milwaukee scoreless over the final 11 innings.
GIANTS 5, ROCKIES 2
DENVER — Madison Bumgarner scattered four hits over seven innings, Hunter Pence hit a 2-run homer to help San Francisco end its longest losing streak in three years.
The Giants had lost six straight, their longest skid since dropping seven in a row from June 26-July 1, 2010.
Bumgarner (8-5) struck out five and walked three, improving to 4-1 with a 2.18 ERA in his last five starts. Sergio Romo pitched a 1-hit ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.
Buster Posey put the Giants ahead with a solo homer in the third.
Colorado’s Michael Cuddyer singled in the eighth off Sandy Rosario, extending his hitting streak to 27 games, the longest in Rockies’ history and in the majors this season. He has reached base safely in a franchise-record 45 straight games.
Drew Pomeranz (0-1) allowed four runs, seven hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.
BRAVES 6, DIAMONDBACKS 2
ATLANTA — Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla and Brian McCann homered, powering Atlanta past Arizona for a 3-game sweep in the matchup of division leaders.
Paul Maholm (9-6) gave up two runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings for the Braves, who improved to a big league-best 28-11 at home.
Trevor Cahill (3-10) allowed six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings as the NL West-leading Diamondbacks lost for the fifth time in six games.
Arizona has gone 22 straight games without a win from its rotation, the longest streak in the majors since San Diego went 25 in row from April 17-May 14, 2009, according to STATS.
NATIONALS 13, METS 2
NEW YORK — Gio Gonzalez pitched seven shutout innings, Ian Desmond homered off a backup catcher and Washington roughed up rookie Zack Wheeler and the Mets.
Adam LaRoche homered and Desmond and Denard Span had RBI doubles in a 4-run second to spoil Wheeler’s home debut, which became such a laugher that catcher Anthony Recker pitched the ninth inning.
Jayson Werth also homered against the Mets’ touted rookie as Washington finally gave Gonzalez (5-3) some run support — and then some.
Kurt Suzuki hit a 2-run homer and Anthony Rendon had a 2-run double when Washington batted around in a 6-run eighth. Suzuki also had an RBI single in the second against Wheeler (1-1).
MARLINS 6, PADRES 2
MIAMI — Jeff Mathis hit a grand slam with one out in the ninth inning, lifting Miami past San Diego.
The Padres deployed a 5-infielder, 2-outfielder defense for Mathis, who hit a 1-0 pitch past everyone and into the Padres bullpen.
Logan Morrison walked against Tyson Ross (0-4) to start the ninth, took second on a single by Marcell Ozuna, then advanced to third on a flyout. Pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Mathis followed with his second home run.
Steve Cishek (2-4) pitched a hitless ninth for the win.