SAN DIEGO – Yu Darvish’s pitch count was up early in Wednesday's game, so he consulted with Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux.
Through an interpreter, he reassured them after the third inning that he could throw into the seventh or eighth if he continued to pitch well.
“Please don’t base me getting taken out just on pitch count,” he requested.
Sure enough, Darvish completed eight innings, throwing a season-high
122 pitches, in the Rangers’ 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres as Texas swept the three-game series at Petco Park.
He threw 112 pitches before the eighth but had little trouble in that inning. He struck out Will Venable swinging on three pitches and Cameron Maybin swinging on five pitches before getting Mark Kotsay to ground out on two pitches.
“Stamina-wise and finishing the game, right now I have no problem,”
said Darvish, who improved to 9-4 with a 3.45 ERA.
He allowed two runs, struck out eight (three short of his season high) and walked three. His previous high for a pitch total was 121 on April 19 against the Detroit Tigers.
During the eighth, Washington had reliever Mike Adams warming up in case Darvish got into trouble.
“I asked him how he felt,” Washington said. “He said he felt strong. He’s usually honest with us.”
Darvish found his rhythm after issuing two walks in the first inning and allowing a two-run single to Padres pitcher Anthony Bass in the second inning. Darvish threw 41 of his 122 pitches in the first two innings. He issued one walk and gave up two hits after the second inning.
“Mentally and physically, mechanic-wise, there was no difference from the beginning to the end,” Darvish said. “I just think it was going through the game, my body was getting warmed up and getting into the rhythm of the game.”
Darvish also recorded his first major league hit, a one-out single off Bass to right field in the third inning. Darvish was doubled up at first on Ian Kinsler's line out to end the inning. He also grounded out once and struck out once in his first major league plate appearances.
Darvish said he enjoyed being able to hit.
“I wasn’t nervous, but looking forward to it,” he said. “I enjoyed all my at-bats. To actually be up there, to see a major league pitcher, the quality, the speed and break, that was something I was very curious to see as a hitter, and I really enjoyed it.”