ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cincinnati Reds late comeback bid fell short as they fell to the Texas Rangers, 3-2, on Sunday.
Texas (48-34) clinched its ninth home series of the year by taking the finale of a three-game set, the first meeting between the clubs in Arlington since 2002. A stretch of winning nine of 11 games secured a 14-14 June for the Rangers.
Cincinnati (46-36) ended an eight-game road trip that saw the Reds winning just two. The Reds return home on Monday to begin a seven-game home stand.
After Yu Darvish blanked the Reds through 6 2/3 innings, Texas appeared to be cruising to its third shutout in four games before its bid was spoiled in the eighth.
Tanner Scheppers had trouble with his command, allowing a walk and back-to-back singles to give way to Neal Cotts. Cotts allowed two sacrifice flies before Jason Frasor entered with the score 3-2. Frasor escaped the scare, leaving a Cincinnati runner on third when pinch hitter Chris Heisey flied out to center.
Rangers' closer Joe Nathan picked up his 27th save of the year by working a perfect ninth.
The Reds had no answer for Darvish, who earned his first win in eight starts -- the longest stretch of his career without a win.
Darvish (8-3) had at least a strikeout in each of the first six innings pitched and picked up two in the second after allowing a leadoff single.
The lone trouble Darvish found himself in came in the sixth when a walk and a single put runners on the corners. Mitch Moreland began a double play with a hard ground ball right at him to get out of the jam.
Darvish departed after increasing his MLB-leading strikeout total to 151 after eight punch outs.
The Reds' Mat Latos (7-2) matched the Rangers starter toe-to-toe through four and a half innings. Latos held the slight advantage with seven strikeouts compared to Darvish's six.
However, Latos ran into trouble when matched up against the Rangers eight and nine hitters to begin the bottom of the fifth.
Leonys Martin stretched out a double to shallow center-field to push Engel Beltre to third, who reached on a lead-off single.
Two batters later, Elvis Andrus laid down a pivotal suicide squeeze that was fielded by Latos just off the mound. His throw home bounced off the side of Beltre's head and to the backstop allowing two runs to score.
The damage was the first against Latos, as Texas had little to show for its previous four baserunners entering the inning.
Latos gave up a single by Nelson Cruz that scored Martin to give Texas a 3-0 lead at the time.
Latos finished with 6 2/3 innings and nine strikeouts.
NOTES: Reaching the halfway point in the season Saturday, Texas was in first in the American League West for the fourth consecutive year. ... Cincinnati tied its best record since 1995 after 81 games by going 46-35. ... The Reds filled Johnny Cueto's roster spot by recalling RHP Logan Ondrusek from Triple-A Louisville. Cueto was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to tightness in his right lat. ... Leonys Martin extended his hitting streak to 14 games in the fifth, matching Adrian Beltre for a team season-high.