(Sports Network) - Yu Darvish was nearly perfect his last time out.
The Japanese righty will try to follow up his brilliant season debut on Sunday
when the Texas Rangers conclude a three-game series with the Los Angeles
Angels of Anaheim at Rangers Ballpark.
Darvish came within an eyelash of throwing a perfect game on Tuesday in
Houston, but Marwin Gonzalez spoiled his bid at history with a single back up
the middle with two outs in the ninth.
"When you're throwing the ball as well as he's throwing, I thought he would
get it," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "It just wasn't meant to be. He
had all his pitches working -- curve and slider, splitter, he had a good
sinker working, moved his fastball around. He threw the kitchen sink at them
and he threw them all over the plate. He dominated them."
Darvish, who became the first Texas pitcher to lose a no-no with two outs in
the ninth, struck out a career-high 14 batters over 111 pitches. The 14
strikeouts were the most by Rangers pitcher since Nolan Ryan fanned 14
back in 1991.
It was the ninth time in his first 30 major league starts that Darvish had
struck out at least 10 batters in a game.
Darvish, though, has been battling a blister on his finger since the start,
but insists he will be ready to go on Sunday.
"My approach is going to be the same no matter who I face," said Darvish, who
was 3-1 with a 4.23 ERA in six starts against the Angels last year. "I am
going to do my job."
Opposing him will be righty Jered Weaver, who wasn't perfect his first time
out, but was pretty close. Weaver did not get a decision against the
Cincinnati Reds on Monday, despite allowing just a run and two hits in six
innings of his team's 3-1 win.
Weaver has faced the Rangers 30 times and is 13-7 with a 3.61 ERA against
"I try not to get too caught up in matchups," Weaver said. "It'll be a
challenge facing these guys, as it always is. They're a good club with some
Los Angeles rebounded from a loss in Friday's opener on Saturday, as Albert
Pujols hit two home runs and finished with three RBI to lead the Angels to an
Mark Trumbo added a two-run homer and Peter Bourjos knocked in a solo shot for
the Angels, who saw starter Tommy Hanson (1-0) allow three runs on six hits
over six innings.
"I felt pretty comfortable at the plate," said Pujols. "When you feel
comfortable at the plate, you don't feel like you have to chase balls. You see
the ball pretty good, and that's what I did today. Hopefully, I can continue
to do that."
Josh Hamilton continued to hear the boos from the Arlington crowd and is just
1-for-20 on the season with 10 strikeouts.
"We're only five games into the season. Let the guy settle down," said Pujols.
"Let's see where we are a month from now. You guys said that last year about
me and I proved a lot of people wrong."
Mitch Moreland, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz each hit solo homers for the
Rangers, who had a three-game winning streak stopped. David Murphy had an RBI
triple in defeat.
Texas starter Matt Harrison (0-2) gave up five runs on eight hits and walked
four over five innings.
"There's no excuses," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "You take back a
few pitches that you didn't hit his spots with, and maybe it's a different
ball game. But today, they came out and jumped on us. They're capable of
swinging the bat. He made some mistakes with location and they made him pay
On the milestone front, Texas closer Joe Nathan is now one save shy of 300 for
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