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Darvish Wins Japanese Mound Duel

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New York Yankees v Texas Rangers

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By STEPHEN HAWKINS   AP Sports Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Yu Darvish had a season-high 10
strikeouts pitching into the ninth inning and worked out of a
couple of jams for the Texas Rangers in a 2-0 victory over the New
York Yankees and countryman Hiroki Kuroda on Tuesday night.
In only the seventh MLB matchup ever of Japanese starters,
Darvish (3-0) allowed seven hits and walked a season-low two in 8
1-3 innings. The 10 strikeouts were the most by a Texas pitcher
this season.

Ian Kinsler put the Rangers ahead to stay when he led off the
first with a deep homer to left center off Kuroda (1-3), who
limited Texas to two runs and five hits over 6 2-3 innings. The
37-year-old right-hander, in his fifth season in the majors, struck
out five and walked one.

But Kuroda was outpitched by Darvish, the 25-year-old righty
making only his fourth major league start _ and getting better each
time on the mound.

Rangers manager Ron Washington was going to give him a chance to
finish the game but pulled Darvish after Nick Swisher’s one-out
single on his 119th pitch.

Joe Nathan needed only one pitch to coax a game-ending
double-play grounder by Raul Ibanez. It was his fifth save in six
chances, closing out the Rangers’ first shutout victory over the
Yankees since Aug. 16, 2000.

The Yankees had the bases loaded with no outs in the third after
Derek Jeter reached on a bunt single. Darvish initially failed to
field the ball, apparently expecting someone else to get it.
But Darvish then got Curtis Granderson out on a called third
strike before Alex Rodriguez grounded into an inning-ending double
play.

Another sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark broke into cheers of
“Yuuuuuu!” that are already becoming quite routine.
Darvish walked off the mound clapping his hand on his glove
while watching the replay on the huge video board high above the
right-field seats.

After Robinson Cano hit a leadoff double in the fourth, Darvish
needed only seven pitches to get out of that inning. Mark Teixeira
and Swisher both struck out swinging on three pitches before Ibanez
grounded out on the first pitch he saw.

Darvish struck out the side in the seventh, getting Jeter on a
called strike for the third out.

The last matchup of Japanese-born starters was July 22, 2010,
when Kuroda threw eight scoreless innings for the Los Angeles
Dodgers in a 2-0 win over the Mets and Hisanori Takahashi.
Darvish made his major league debut two weeks ago at Rangers
Ballpark, allowing five runs in the first two innings but getting
the win in an 11-5 victory over Seattle. Since those first two
innings, he has allowed only two earned runs over 24 innings.

Kinsler’s fifth homer of the season was his first leading off a
game, extending his team record in that category to 21.
Elvis Andrus drew a one-out walk in the third and had a stolen
base on the same pitch that Josh Hamilton swung and lost control of
his bat, which helicoptered all the way into short right field
before landing in fair territory just beyond first base. On the
next pitch, with a different bat, Hamilton lined a single to
right-center for a 2-0 lead.

Still, the Rangers weren’t overpowering against Kuroda. Along
with the five strikeouts, 12 of their 20 outs against Kuroda were
on grounders, and there were two popups.

Notes: Yankees RHP Phil Hughes is scheduled Wednesday night to
make his first start at Rangers Ballpark since May 25, 2009, when
he allowed only three hits in a career-high-tying eight scoreless
innings. … RHP Scott Feldman, who has lost four of his last five
decisions at Rangers Ballpark, pitches the series finale for Texas.
… In the Rangers fifth, Kinsler was running on a pitch from first
when Andrus hit a grounder. Cano snagged the ball on his way to
cover second, tagged the sliding Kinsler and threw to first to
complete the inning-ending double play.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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