Published September 03, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Yu Darvish did not throw a no-hitter, though there was some concern in the Kansas City dugout that he might.
Darvish retired the first 17 batters, Texas hit five home runs and the Rangers beat the Royals 8-4 Monday in a game that turned testy.
The Royals did not get a baserunner until Johnny Giavotella walked on a close pitch with two outs in the sixth. David Lough, the next batter, ended the no-hitter with a bloop single to center.
"I turned to (bench coach) Chino (Cadahia) in about the fifth inning and said 'Boy, this guy's got a shot,'" Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He had a 97-mile-an-hour fastball, a 95-mile-an-hour cutter, a 92 splitter and he's throwing 68 to 64 on the curve.
"The variation in speeds was tremendous. It was the first time we've seen him. It was our first time seeing him and he was fantastic."
Lough, playing in just his third major league game, hit it just out of the reach of Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.
"It takes one hit sometimes and other guys can feed off it," Lough said. "I saw him going back for it and I was hoping it would fall in.
"He was definitely switching it up on us. His off-speed stuff was working well, keeping us off balance."
The only opposing pitcher to throw a no-hitter against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium is Darvish's boss, Rangers president Nolan Ryan on May 15, 1973.
Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz homered on consecutive pitches in the sixth inning. Cruz watched his drive sail over the wall, then was hit by Louis Coleman's first pitch leading off the ninth.
Cruz took a few steps to the mound, but was restrained by catcher Brayan Pena. The dugouts and bullpens emptied, but only words were exchanged. Both teams were issued a warning by plate umpire Mike Everitt.
"We were trying to pitch in on him, to keep him from extending his arms," Yost said. "You saw what he did the last at-bat when he got his arms extended. We were just trying to pitch him in."
Michael Young answered that by homering on the next pitch.
Josh Hamilton hit his 38th homer and Geovany Soto added a three-run shot as Texas won for the ninth time in 12 games. The AL West leaders moved a season-high 26 games over .500 with some more pop after they hit four homers Sunday in an 8-3 victory at Cleveland.
"They've got a big-time offense," Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said. "They're a high-powered offense and got eight runs on us. Darvish was throwing strikes and mixing it well, pounding the strike zone, and definitely executing every pitch. We got to him and got some hits. We hit some balls well and didn't get some hits on them, too."
A day after he homered and doubled in his first two big league at-bats, 19-year-old Jurickson Profar was not in the Texas lineup. Second baseman Ian Kinsler, who sat out Sunday with a stiff back, returned to the lineup.
Darvish (14-9), who retired the final seven batters he faced in his previous start, tied Wade Miley of Arizona for the most victories by a rookie this season.
Darvish gave up a two-run triple to Tony Abreu and a RBI double to Alex Gordon to cut the Texas lead to 6-3 before the inning ended. Darvish was pulled after the seventh and struck out six, including five in the first three innings, and walked one.
"He was really locked in," said Lorenzo Cain, who went 0 for 4. "You could tell he wore down a little at the end. He was mixing it up and keeping it down."
Soto homered in the second for a 3-0 lead.
Bruce Chen (10-11) allowed six runs on six hits, four of them home runs. He lasted six innings as his career ERA against Texas climbed to 8.68.
Abreu also singled in a run in the eighth, giving him six RBIs in two games.
NOTES: The Rangers have hit back-to-back homers eight times this season. ... Beltre is hitting .449 with nine home runs, six doubles and 17 RBIs in his past 12 games. ... Hamilton has hit three homers in five games. In his past 12 games, he is hitting .341 with four home runs, 12 RBIs and 11 runs. ... LHP Everett Teaford, who threw 5 1-3 scoreless innings as a reliever Saturday, will make a spot start Wednesday for the Royals. Rookie LHP Will Smith, who is 0-3 in his past three starts, will be skipped a start.