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Darvish, Rangers stymie Angels

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Yu Darvish needs nine runs about as much as the state of Texas needs more cowboy hats. In other words, not so much.

The Texas Rangers scored nine times in the fourth inning, and their ace led the way to an 11-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on a drizzly Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.

The Angels never came close to scoring against Darvish in his six innings, failing to get a runner as far as second base. Darvish (4-1) allowed three hits -- all singles -- and two walks while striking out 11. It marked the third time in his five starts this season that he struck out at least 10 while allowing three hits or fewer.

"He's got all the pitches, he's got the mentality, he looks comfortable from what I've seen every time out," Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "As a catcher, he makes it fun because you know you can put down any sign and he can make a quality pitch. He didn't throw any changeups or splits tonight, he just threw breaking balls and fastballs, and that was what he had going.

"The next time out, he might throw 50 changeups or 50 splits, it just depends on what he feels that day. It makes it difficult for the other team to gauge where he's at and what he's going to throw."

Darvish gave up a single to Mark Trumbo in the second inning, an infield single to Josh Hamilton in the fourth inning and a single to Albert Pujols in the sixth. He struck out at least one batter in every inning except the fourth, and he struck out the side in both the fifth and sixth innings.

The Angels weren't much in the mood to talk about Darvish after the game.

"He pitched well," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "He pitched well."

Scioscia was more concerned about his own pitchers. He said before Wednesday's game it would be a "staff" game, considering the Angels were short-handed on pitching. Scheduled starter Tommy Hanson was placed on the bereavement list Monday because of a death in his family, leaving Scioscia to piecemeal the game with a bullpen that was already thinned by injuries.

Michael Roth, a ninth-round draft choice out of the University of South Carolina last year, got the start. Roth was called up from Double-A Arkansas on April 13 and had pitched out of the bullpen until Wednesday.

He limited the Rangers to three singles through three innings, matching Darvish inning-for-inning until the fourth.

That's when the Rangers finally figured him out. Texas got three hits and two walks against Roth in the fourth, including RBI singles by Pierzynski and David Murphy. Roth was taken out with the bases loaded and one out, having made 75 pitches.

David Carpenter, who was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday, allowed a bases-loaded walk to Ian Kinsler and a two-run single to Lance Berkman, and the Rangers had a 5-0 lead, all five runs charged to Roth.

The Rangers added a sixth run on a Carpenter wild pitch, and three more on a homer by Nelson Cruz for a 9-0 lead.

"You don't have a rearview mirror," Scioscia said. "We tried to squirm our way out of that fourth inning, and we had to try to just let guys pitch a little bit on a night like tonight because of the situation we're in with a lot of guys down."

Berkman added a two-run homer in the sixth inning to make it 11-0, but it was more or less overkill considering the damage done in the fourth.

"It was nice," Pierzynski said of the nine-run lead. "Roth was pitching good, he was keeping us off balance early. We got first and third when I was up, and he threw me a sinker that he just left up, and I was able to get it into the outfield, and that opened the floodgates. And Nelly culminated it with the three-run home run.

"It was good to see a lot of guys get some good at-bats, some hits, some RBIs and get Yu a lead so he could relax a little bit."

Cruz finished with three hits, while Berkman and Elvis Andrus had two hits apiece for Texas.

The Angels scored three times in the eighth inning against Rangers reliever Derek Lowe.

NOTES: Angels RHP Jered Weaver played catch Wednesday for the first time since he suffered a fracture in his left arm April 7. Weaver was expected to miss four to six weeks, meaning if all goes, well he could be back in mid-May. ... X-rays taken on the bruised right knee of Rangers OF Jeff Baker were negative, and it's possible he could be back in the lineup this weekend. Baker, who has been playing against left-handed starters, hurt his knee sliding into the short wall in foul territory while making a catch of a fly ball from Hamilton on Tuesday.
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