Darvish tames Mariners, Rangers bats come alive in win

Michael Eldridge, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers used its highest scoring output in a single inning this season to move past the Seattle Mariners Friday night 7-0 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Texas (10-6) scored six runs off of five hits in the sixth inning, expanding on a 1-0 lead created by a Jeff Baker home run in the second. The run support was more than enough for a masterful Yu Darvish (3-1).
Darvish set down the first six batters by way of strikeout on the way to fanning 10 overall. The right-hander allowed just three hits, without giving up a run, in seven innings.
"I was able to get command of my fast ball," Darvish said. "I wasn't able to do that in my last outing, so I was able to confuse the Mariners lineup with a different pitching style."
Darvish moved into top-five all-time in Rangers history with his 10th double-digit strikeout total and the second time he has accomplished the feat this season. Darvish struck out a career-high 14 against the Houston Astros on April 2, coming just one out away from a perfect game.
"He used his fastball and cutter," Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He made some pitches when he had to. There were a couple times where had them looking for one pitch and threw another one. He was thinking really well with the hitters and won the battle."
Craig Gentry led Texas with a pair of hits to go along with a pair of RBI and a run. Gentry's defense also shined. The center fielder made two running grabs, slamming into the left-center field wall on each.
"It was a great game tonight defensively and offensively," Gentry said. "We haven't been performing offensively like we feel like we can. It's good to come home and start the series off swinging the bats a little bit."
David Murphy joined Gentry on the night with two hits and an RBI and A.J. Pierzynski plated two and scored a run. The Rangers finished with a hit from eight of their nine starters.
Baker, making just his third start of the year for the Rangers, sent a 2-1 pitch sailing into the Texas bullpen for the opening run. Texas tried to add to the margin with two outs in the third and fourth innings, putting runners on the corners in each. However, ground balls ended each threat.
Texas broke through in the fifth inning. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for the Rangers with one out. Pierzynski singled to left to score Lance Berkman and Adrian Beltre. Baker walked and would score along with Pierzynski on a triple by Gentry.
Ian Kinsler's double scored Gentry and the Rangers were in cruise-control.
The six runs in the fifth were a season-high for the Rangers in a single inning.
"We grinded and we got a couple of big hits in some big situations and finally put up some runs," Washington said. "Tonight was the night where had some opportunities and we cashed them in."
Seattle (7-11) starter Joe Saunders (1-2) lasted just 4 2/3 innings in his start, allowing nine hits and seven earned runs. The start was much different from his previous outing, coming against the Rangers in a no-decision on April 13. In that start, Saunders gave up only three hits.
Robbie Ross replaced Darvish to start the eighth inning. Ross would strike out the side but not before loading the bases on a single, hitting a batter and an error.
Michael Kirkman closed out the game for the Rangers.
Texas and Seattle resume the three-game series on Saturday with Mariner's starter Brandon Maurer (1-2, 9.95) facing off against Nick Tepesch (1-1, 3.46).
Notes: Texas announced before the game that Opening Day starter Matt Harrison would have surgery on a herniated disc on Tuesday. Harrison is expected to be out until at least the All-Star break according to manager Ron Washington. ... Prior to the game, Rangers OF Julio Borbon was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs. ... The Mariners announced that Michael Sunders, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list for a shoulder sprain, could return as early as April 26 against the Mariners.

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