ARLINGTON – Before the game, manager Ron Washington predicted that Yu Darvish would pitch deep into the game, and carry the Texas Rangers to a victory. Nobody doubted him, either, as Darvish had won his first seven starts at Rangers Ballpark.
Darvish pitched well against Oakland, too, matching his career high in strikeouts over seven innings. But he wound up with the loss, as the A’s avoided a four-game sweep with a 3-1 victory on Sunday night.
Oakland got a strong start by Travis Blackley, who held Texas to one run on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts over seven innings. Grant Balfour and Jerry Blevins pitched out of a jam in the eighth, and All-Star Ryan Cook closed it out in the ninth.
Trailing 2-1 going to the bottom of the sixth, the Rangers caught a bad break. Craig Gentry drove the ball off the center field wall, it bounced back off Yoenis Cespedes’ leg and over the wall. Instead of a leadoff triple or possible inside-the-park home run, Gentry had a ground-rule double.
And the Rangers couldn’t bring him in. Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton all popped out.
The A’s then extended their lead to 3-1 in the seventh when Brandon Moss led off with a homer to right off Darvish.
Darvish went seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts. The 11 strikeouts matched his career-high, as he’s done it three times this season.
The Rangers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI single by Andrus. Oakland, though, tied it in the fifth with a run-scoring single by Derek Norris.
-- Drew Davison