Rapid Reaction: Rangers 10, Tigers 4
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Thursday's marquee pitching matchup between Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander didn't materialize, highlighted by a 74-pitch third inning by the two aces.
The teams combined for 10 runs in the inning, with the Texas Rangers scoring seven times against Verlander to rally for a 10-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers at home.
Verlander goes down: The Rangers hammered Verlander, who allowed eight earned runs in a start for the fifth time in his career and for the first time since August. Verlander went 2 2/3 innings for his shortest outing since 2010. It's the fourth time in his career he's failed to pitch three innings. The Rangers pounced on him for seven runs in the bottom of the third, the most Verlander has allowed in one inning. Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre drew bases-loaded walks to tie the game at 3-all, followed by a Mitch Moreland double to right field for a 5-3 lead, and capped by Geovany Soto's first home run of the year, a three-run shot over the left-field fence.
Darvish smells win: Darvish struggled also, falling behind 3-1 and allowing two more home runs to make it seven in his past four games. He smelled a victory after the Rangers' seven-run third for an 8-3 lead. After allowing a solo home run to Jhonny Peralta, Darvish retired 15 of the next 16 batters he faced, giving up only a two-out single to Prince Fielder in the fifth inning. Darvish retired the last 10 batters he faced.
Darvish's pitch count: Darvish set his career high with 130 pitches, just two starts after he threw 127 pitches against Boston on May 4. Darvish has thrown 362 pitches in 12 days, an average of 120.7 pitches per start.
Moreland on fire: There's no stopping Moreland, who extended his hitting streak to eight games with his go-ahead double in the bottom of the third. Moreland had two more hits Thursday night to give him 13 hits in his past 31 at-bats. He has four doubles, a triple and five home runs during that stretch. Moreland also made two Web gem-worthy defensive plays in the fifth inning, first on a scoop on a low throw by Soto, then on a diving stop on a smash to his right by Miguel Cabrera.
Soto goes deep: Soto produced his first home run of the season at the right time, knocking Verlander out of the game. Soto, who has started eight of the Rangers' past 10 games, hadn't been producing at the plate, going 1-for-his-previous-19 at-bats with eight strikeouts entering Thursday's game. But he pounded a fastball 365 feet for his first home run since Sept. 23 against Seattle.
Cruz tied for HR lead: Nelson Cruz tied for the American League lead in home runs with his 11th of the season, joining Baltimore's Chris Davis, Cleveland's Mark Reynolds and Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion. Cruz has six RBIs in his past three games. He has a homer every 14.4 at-bats, tied for seventh in the AL entering Thursday.
Beltre-Andrus special: The Rangers had a spectacular defensive play from the left side of the infield to start the eighth inning. Beltre had a smash go off his glove to the shortstop area, where Andrus charged in, picked up the ball barehanded and threw out Cabrera.
Up next: The Rangers send rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-3, 4.03 ERA) to the mound against Detroit right-hander Rick Porcello (1-2, 6.68) at 7:05 p.m. CT on Channel 21 and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.