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Darvish pitches 3 hitless, Rangers beat Padres

AP - Sports

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -- Not even Yu Darvish can stay perfect perpetually.

Darvish allowed two walks and struck out three in three hitless innings in the Texas Rangers' 5-4 win over the San Diego Padres on Monday.

Darvish, who struck out two in two perfect innings in his first start, threw 23 of his 39 pitches for strikes.

''I think the definition of a good pitcher is to get outs when you don't have your good stuff,'' Darvish said. ''I did that today so I think it was a good outing.''

San Diego made some solid contact against Darvish. Engel Beltre made a running catch just shy of the right-center field wall in the first, Adrian Beltre stopped a sharp bouncer to third to start a double play in the second and David Murphy caught an Alexi Amarista fly ball near the fence in left in the third to end Darvish's outing.

''Although I didn't have all my pitches today, my slider was working particularly well so I tried to focus on that pitch as much as possible and it worked out,'' Darvish said. ''Even if you don't have your best stuff you have to think and manage the other lineup. I think that's what I did today and I think that's what I'm going to keep doing.''

Rangers manager Ron Washington said he didn't see much different from Darvish.

''I didn't see it but I wasn't on the mound,'' Washington said. ''He had an

Adrian Beltre was seeing his first game action of the spring after being slowed by tightness in his right calf. Beltre doubled down the right-field line to lead off the first, reached on an error and grounded out in three at-bats.

''I don't need a lot of at-bats,'' Beltre said. ''It depends how I feel. Most of my best years have been when I take less at-bats in spring training. Sometimes in a long spring training, I start at the beginning and by the end I don't feel good. It all depends on how I feel.''

Padres starter Eric Stults struggled in the first inning before settling down to complete his scheduled three innings. Stults allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in the first but then retired six of the final seven batters he faced.

''The second time out, it was a little easier,'' said Stults, who allowed four runs on a hit and two walks in his first start. ''The first time facing hitters at game speed, I was maybe a little too amped-up. Today was better. I was able to throw all four pitches for strikes.''

Sean O'Sullivan, vying for a spot at the back end of the Padres' rotation, gave up one hit, walked one and struck out one in two scoreless innings.

Kyle Blanks homered to lead off the fifth. Gregorio Petit had a run-scoring single and Yasmani Grandal added an RBI double during San Diego's three-run seven inning that put the Padres up 4-2.

Aaron Cunningham's RBI single in the eighth pulled Texas within 4-3, and Joey Butler and Jeff Baker had RBI singles for the Rangers in the ninth.

NOTES: Rangers relievers Cody Buckel and Coty Woods combined to hit four batters in the seventh and eighth. ... Padres LF Travis Buck, the first hitter up after Darvish departed, singled to center to start the fourth. ... Adrian Beltre said he hopes to play for the Dominican Republic in the second round of the World Baseball Classic. ... The good news for the Rangers on Martin Perez's broken left arm, such that it is, is the left-hander sustained a non-displaced fracture of his ulna - in other words, the bone is cracked but did not break clean through. Perez, who was hit by a line drive on Sunday, is wearing a temporary splint and the club is optimistic he could return by May. ... Padres OF James Darnell remains sidelined with a strained oblique muscle. Darnell was off to a 2-for-10 start but has not played since Feb. 25. ... Texas has its first of three off days on Tuesday.

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