ARLINGTON – Yu Darvish joined the 200-strikeout club, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton swatted solo home runs and the Texas Rangers went on to a 9-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
With the victory, Texas will maintain at least a three-game lead in the American League West over Oakland, which played Baltimore late Friday.
Darvish retired the first six batters he faced before giving up an infield single to Carlos Peguero to start the third. He retired the next three batters, but gave up his lone run of the night in the fourth.
Michael Saunders won a 12-pitch at-bat by drawing a walk to start the fifth, moved to third on a double by Kyle Seager and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jesus Montero.
Darvish responded by striking out the side in the fifth. He opened it by striking out Peguero for his 200th strikeout of the season, and then struck out Trayvon Robinson and Munenori Kawasaki.
Darvish finished with nine strikeouts over seven innings, and has 205 on the season. He is the 16th rookie in the modern era (since 1900) to reach the 200-strikeout mark, and first since Daisuke Matsuzaka did it with the Red Sox in 2007.
Darvish’s strong seven innings, along with a nine-pitch eighth by Koji Uehara and two-run ninth by Michael Kirkman, were enough for the Rangers, who broke a 2-1 game open in the eighth.
The Rangers took an early 1-0 lead when Kinsler led off the first with a solo homer to left-center field. Hamilton made it a 2-0 in the third with a blast into the home run porch in right.
With a 2-1 lead in the eighth, the Rangers broke loose for seven runs. Elvis Andrus led off with a double and then scored a double by Hamilton. Hamilton scored later on an error, and Geovany Soto delivered a two-run double to make it a five-run game. Andrus batted again in the inning, and had a three-run triple.-- Drew Davison