ARLINGTON, Texas -- It was Yu Darvish's last start at Ranger Ballpark before a weekend appearance in Minneapolis and maybe a trip to Kansas City for the July 10 All-Star game.
Sunday night, the rookie right-hander was at times dominant, gritty, and just plain good against the Oakland Athletics.
Yet he got his fifth loss of the season despite tying a season high with 11 strikeouts as the A's won 3-1 to avoid a four-game series sweep.
"He stayed in there seven innings. To me that’s the end," manager Ron Washington said. "He gave up three runs. Three runs against us, we feel pretty good. If he goes out there every night and gives up runs, and if three is the limit, I’d take it every time. Once again, we only put one run on the board and their pitching staff did a very good job."
Darvish (10-5) didn't have much trouble against the weak-hitting A's, who were last in the majors in hitting (.224) and had the third lowest on-base percentage (.302) in the big leagues coming into the game.
But he ran into trouble in the sixth inning.
A double by Yoenis Cespedes put runners at second and third. Darvish threw a pitch that catcher Yorvit Torrealba couldn't handle. Torrealba couldn't find the loose ball and the speedy Jemile Weeks scored the go-ahead run.
"The double, I made a very good pitch," Darvish said. "Location was very good and he just hit it. He's just a very good hitter. After that the wild pitch that scored the run, that’s a very important at-bat where I have to give it my all. I just didn’t make my pitch and it was a wild pitch and it was unfortunate."
The Rangers' bats couldn't do much against the A's pitching and failed to pick up their All-Star final vote candidate.
"I didn’t see anything wrong with his command," Washington said. "He threw a couple of pitches that may have gotten out of the strike zone but (Travis) Blackley did too. So for the most part, he made them swing the bat. ... Ball got away from Torry, speed on third base (and) he cashed it in. Home run and a base hit scored a run. We only put one on the board."
An RBI single by Norris in the fifth tied the game at 1-1 but in the seventh the A's got some insurance when Brandon Moss homered to right for the 3-1 lead.
Darvish ended his evening throwing 105 pitches, 69 for strikes, and he allowed three earned runs on five hits to go along with three walks and one wild pitch.
"I felt good from the beginning," he said. "And I felt strong even until the end."