Arlington, TX – A highly touted matchup between two of the most overpowering pitchers in baseball was cut short by the Texas Rangers, who pummeled Justin Verlander early to take a 10-4 win over the Detroit Tigers.
The Rangers, winners of seven of their last eight, broke the opener of this four-game set open with a seven-run third inning and Yu Darvish (7-1) battled through a rough start to go eight innings.
"After the second inning his pitch counts went down," said Texas manager Ron Washington about Darvish. "He didn't panic and gave us another solid start."
Darvish improved on his major league lead in strikeouts with six more on Thursday to push his total to 86 in nine starts this season. He was charged with four runs on seven hits.
It was a trying third inning for both starters, but especially for Verlander (4-4), who didn't make it out of the frame. He walked in a pair of runs before Geovany Soto's three-run blast topped off his start at 2 2/3 innings.
"I'm not going to go home and pout about this," said Verlander. "I've been doing this for a while now and I know what I need to do."
For Verlander, the leader in strikeouts in three of the last four seasons, it was his shortest outing in nearly three years, matching a career worst with eight runs allowed on six hits and two walks.
Texas received two hits and three RBI from Mitch Moreland as well as a solo blast from Nelson Cruz. Elvis Andrus, Lance Berkman and Adrian Beltre each knocked in a run in the victory.
Don Kelly and Jhonny Peralta each hit solo homers for Detroit, which has dropped six of its last nine contests.
After receiving a 3-1 lead, Verlander came completely unraveled. He quickly gave up a pair of singles before plunking Ian Kinsler to load the bases, then issued walks to Andrus and Beltre to force in two runs.
He recorded his second strikeout of the inning when he fanned Cruz, but then served up a two-run double to Moreland and Soto followed with his first homer of the season, a three-run shot into left to send Verlander packing and open up an 8-3 Rangers lead.
Peralta led off the fourth with a homer to cut the deficit to 8-4, but Darvish settled in from there. He retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced, allowing just a single during the span.
Moreland drove home a run in the fifth with a double and Cruz's solo blast in the seventh capped the scoring.
Texas manufactured a run off Verlander in the first, with Kinsler starting the inning with a base hit and eventually coming around to score on a ground out from Berkman, but Detroit worked Darvish in the third to take the lead.
Darvish served up a leadoff homer to Kelly on his fifth of a 36-pitch inning. Ensuing singles from Omar Infante and Andy Dirks set runners at the corners and Torii Hunter sent the Tigers in front with a sac fly to right.
A double from Miguel Cabrera prompted an intentional walk to Prince Fielder to load the bases for Victor Martinez, whose sac fly to center produced a 3-1 edge for Detroit.
Verlander was 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in four previous outings at Rangers Ballpark ... It was Verlander's shortest outing since June 22, 2010, when he lasted just two innings against the New York Mets ... Beltre had a seven-game hit streak snapped ... Kinsler was hit by a pitch for the 54th time in his career, tying Rafael Palmeiro for the franchise record.