Darvish wins 1st start since 2014 as Rangers top Pirates 5-2
ABS-CBN Sports on May 29, 2016 09:13 PM
Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish, of Japan, throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, May 28, 2016. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
SCHUYLER DIXON, AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Yu Darvish made his first start in the majors in almost 22 months on Saturday, and showed no signs of rust, hitting 98 mph (157 kph) in the first inning and leading Texas to a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh.
Texas catcher Bobby Wilson is just glad he wasn't running to the backstop after that fastball, and a few others by the Japanese pitcher, back after Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm.
"In warmups, he didn't really let it go. And then warmups in the first inning, he didn't really let it go," Wilson said. "Then the first couple of hitters, he started letting it go and that ball jumped on me quick. The sinkers that he threw, there was a couple I'm just happy I got a glove on because they were that firm and that nasty."
The "Yuuu" calls from a sellout crowd started early for Darvish, who allowed one run with seven strikeouts in five strong innings. He came out after 81 pitches, just shy of the target Texas had for him after five rehab outings this month.
"Physically I felt I could go more innings, but mentally I was like 'I'm done here,'" Darvish said through an interpreter. "Today I was heating it up pretty good so I felt pretty good."
Darvish last pitched in the big leagues on Aug. 9, 2014. He missed the rest of that season with right elbow inflammation, and ended up needing ligament reconstruction surgery after his only spring training appearance last year.
Darvish, who is 7-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 10 starts against National League teams, finished his outing with his second swinging strikeout of John Jaso.
"He's looking fresh," Jaso said. "He was doing his normal thing, like where he throws fastball usually the first time through the lineup and then he starts dropping this in, this in and all that stuff. It looks like he's his normal, dominant self."
The only other time Texas manager Jeff Banister saw Darvish in the majors, he was Pittsburgh's bench coach when Gerrit Cole and the Pirates beat the Rangers 1-0 in September 2013.
"It's still as electric, explosive as I remember it," Banister said. "The stuff, when you look at the hitters, and you watch the expressions and their reactions, you can tell the stuff was electric. Just as impressive tonight as it was back then."