ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish matched a career high with 14 strikeouts and A.J. Pierzynski drove in three runs in the Texas Rangers' 7-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.
Darvish allowed five hits over seven scoreless innings and struck out 12 of the first 18 hitters he faced in helping the Rangers pull within 3 1/2 games of the Oakland A's, who were idle.
The American League West rivals open a three-game series Friday in Oakland.
Darvish (10-5) has a major league best eight games with 10 strikeouts or more this season.
Through 50 career starts, Darvish has 16 games with double-digit strikeouts, second only to Dwight Gooden in baseball's modern era. Gooden had 20 such games in 1984-85.
Darvish's fourth career game with 14 strikeouts matched a career high.
Zeke Spruill (0-1) took the loss in his first major league start. He allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings.
Martin Prado accounted for Arizona's only run, an RBI single in the ninth off Joakim Soria.
Pierzynski led the Rangers' offense, going 3-for-4 with a second-inning home run and a two-run single in the seventh.
Leonys Martin had two RBIs and David Murphy and Mitch Moreland had one each in the Rangers' 11-hit attack.
Solo home runs by Pierzynski and Mitch Moreland in the second and third innings gave the Rangers an early lead.
Texas broke the game open with three runs in the fourth, all with two outs.
David Murphy smacked a solo home run to left-center. Jurickson Profar kept the rally alive with a single to center, and Moreland was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second for Leonys Martin, who hit a two-run double to left-center. Martin was thrown out trying for a triple.
NOTES: Game-time temperature was 101 degrees, accompanied by a healthy dose of summer humidity. ... The game was a makeup of a rainout on May 29. ... Texas DH Lance Berkman, reportedly considering retirement because of a nagging hip injury, said before the game that he planned to stick it out this season. Berkman hopes to begin a rehabilitation assignment on Aug. 8 or Aug. 9, but that will depend on his progress. ... Arizona placed C Miguel Montero (lower back strain) on the 15-day disabled list and purchased the contract of Triple-A Reno C Tuffy Gosewisch. To make room on the roster for Spruill, the Diamondbacks optioned RHP Chaz Roe to Reno.