Published July 15, 2012
SEATTLE – Yu Darvish's numbers against Seattle coming into Saturday were ominous. He had an 8.38 ERA against the weak Mariners offense in two prior starts.
Things somehow got even worse.
Darvish allowed a career-high seven runs while Seattle starter Felix Hernandez dominated the Rangers in a 7-0 Texas loss Saturday.
Darvish has walked 14 Mariners in 16 innings this season. He walked Dustin Ackley to start the game, then hit Casper Wells with a 3-2 pitch after Ichiro Suzuki singled. A four-pitch walk to John Jaso followed, scoring Ackley.
Michael Saunders' hard grounder went off Michael Young's glove at first for an error. After Justin Smoak popped up on the first pitch he saw, Kyle Seager singled in two more runs. Darvish ended the 33-pitch inning by striking out Carlos Peguero and Brendan Ryan. He threw 16 strikes and 17 balls in the first.
"You put those guys on the bags, and someone will find a way to get a base hit," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "The guys that were on the bags, other than Ichiro, were on for free. Those are the types of things Yu has to continue to work on."
Darvish (10-6) finished his erratic night allowing eight hits, seven earned runs, four walks and four strikeouts in 6 ? innings. He's 1-2 against the Mariners with a 9.00 ERA.
Hernandez shut out the Rangers, striking out 12, all swinging. He walked none, allowed just three singles and has dominated the powerful Texas lineup in two starts this season. He's allowed one run in 17 innings, struck out 19 and given up only nine hits.
Saturday was just the second time Texas was shut out this season.
"Those guys are dangerous," Hernandez said. "Just tried to throw on the corners."
Ackley's first solid contact of the day caromed off Darvish's left shin in the second, allowing the pitcher to throw him out. But, Ackley smashed a line drive off the center field wall, just left of the 405 mark, in his second at-bat to drive in Seager and give the Mariners a 5-0 lead.
"I've got to take a look at it tomorrow and see where I am," Darvish said of his leg. "I really don't think it's going to affect me."
Five of Darvish's six losses are on the road and Saturday's came after a 12-day layoff.
"The 12 days didn't have any effect on my pitching," Darvish said.
The Mariners' four first-inning runs were a rare early gift for Hernandez, who has four starts this season in which he's allowed one run or less and received no decision.
He snuffed out the Rangers on Saturday with a mix of mid-90s fastballs, sinkers and changeups in the dirt. Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz struck out three times each Saturday.
Cruz's seventh-inning whiff was the 10th of the night for Hernandez (7-5), the fourth time he has reached at least that mark this season and 20th time in his career.
"He only needed one run," Ackley said. "It was nice to put those runs up and give him a little cushion. When he's relaxed out there, it's almost impossible."
Hernandez was never in trouble, allowing just three singles in his nine innings. He walked no one and now leads the majors in strikeouts with 140.
"As good as I've seen him," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "I've said that a few times lately. Just shows you how special he was tonight. I thought maybe the best fastball we've seen him have this year."
Jaso's solo homer to left-center field in the fifth, his fourth this season, pushed Seattle in front 6-0. Saunders' seventh-inning double to right field drove in Wells, who had singled. Darvish then walked Smoak, which ended his night.
NOTES: The Rangers recalled C Luis Martinez and optioned RHP Yoshinori Tateyama to Round Rock on Saturday. Martinez provides insurance at catcher, since the Rangers are trying to rest Mike Napoli (thigh bruise) until Tuesday's series in Oakland. . Hamilton is hitting .167 in his career against Hernandez. . Seattle scored five-plus runs for just the 30th time this season, the fewest five-plus runs games in the American League. . Jaso is hitting .305 when catching and .232 when the designated hitter.