Darvish seeks another strong outing as Rangers battle Angels

Yu Darvish tries to follow up one of the more dominating efforts in his career on Tuesday when the Texas Rangers continue a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium.

Darvish was absolutely dominant against Arizona on Thursday, as he scattered five hits and struck out 14 over seven scoreless innings to improve to 10-5 on the year to go along with a 2.66 ERA.

"He was as good as I've seen him all year, counting the almost perfect game he threw the first start of the year. His stuff was just nasty," Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.

"He just kept mixing it up, and the strikeouts just kept coming and coming. Nights like that are fun."

The Japanese superstar has now struck out at least 10 batters 16 times in less than two seasons. Since 1900 only Dwight Gooden's 20 are more through 50 starts.

Darvish's roll could continue on Tuesday, as he is 5-1 lifetime versus the Angels with a 3.83 ERA in eight starts.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, will counter with righty Garrett Richards, who is 3-4 with a 4.18 ERA. Richards beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, holding them to a pair of runs and four hits in seven innings.

Since replacing Joe Blanton in the rotation July 27 Richards has allowed two runs and seven hits over 12 innings of two starts.

Richards is 1-0 with a 5.79 ERA in seven games (3 starts) versus the Rangers.

On Monday Texas learned it would have to get by without Nelson Cruz due to his involvement with the now-defunct Biogenesis clinic, then went out and beat the Angels in the opener, as Martin Perez threw 6 1/3 quality innings in Texas' 5-2 win.

Perez (4-3) struck out seven and allowed two runs on four hits and four walks. The 22-year-old lefty pitched into the eighth inning last week against the Angels in a three-game series that saw Texas win each game with a walk-off home run.

"He was more under control tonight," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He got ahead of hitters. He does have enough pitches to be effective. He hit the strike zone and had good velocity."

Adrian Beltre capped that sweep with a solo home run and added another one Monday. Elvis Andrus chipped in a two-run triple and Jurickson Profar went 2- for-4 with an RBI in the victory, Texas' seventh in its last eight games.

Jerome Williams (5-8) was touched for five runs on six hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings for the Angels, who fell to 2-8 against the Rangers this year and also lost second baseman Howie Kendrick to a hyperextended left knee. He'll be evaluated Tuesday.

"Jerome kept us in the game, he battled," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We hit the ball hard, but didn't have anything to show for it."

Texas has won eight of 10 meetings with Anaheim this season.