Rangers' Darvish perfect through seven innings

HOUSTON -- Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish carried a perfect game into the eighth inning Tuesday against the Houston Astros. The Rangers held a 3-0 lead.

Darvish had struck out 12 of the 21 batters he'd faced, flashing an unhittable fastball-slider combination.

The Rangers have five no-hitters in their history, the last coming July 28, 1994, when Kenny Rogers beat the California Angels. Nolan Ryan threw no-hitters for Texas in 1990 and 1991.

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, in his second game with the Rangers, knows all about calling no-hitters. He caught a perfect game from the White Sox's Phil Humber last year, and he caught a no-hitter by Mark Buehrle against the Rangers in 2007.

After striking out Jose Altuve and Brett Wallace to the game, Darvish struck out the side in the second inning, closing the frame with three consecutive called strikes against Justin Maxwell. Jason Castro and Carlos Corporan actually managed to put the ball in play in the third, but Darvish recovered to fan four consecutive batters. By the close of the fifth inning he'd already recorded his ninth career 10-strikeout game, reaching that plateau in just his 30th start.

He added a strikeout of Castro in the sixth, then fanned Wallace in the seventh.

The Rangers jumped on top with a run in the third inning. Texas strung together consecutive one-out hits before shortstop Elvis Andrus worked a walk to load the bases ahead of Lance Berkman. Facing a 1-2 count, Berkman poked a single the opposite way into left field to score Craig Gentry, who had doubled.

Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the seventh.