ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish didn’t have any command of his fastball on Monday night.
It worked well for Darvish, who earned his 10th win of the season in the Rangers’ 4-2 victory over the Yankees at Globe Life Park.
“He bent but he didn’t break,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said of his ace. “There were a couple of innings there where I could see he was getting a little upset by the results. He never gave in and he kept pitching, and he found a pitch he could go to.
“He didn’t have command of his fastball tonight, so he had to go to his breaking pitches. He really didn’t have anything for [Brett] Gardner or Derek Jeter, other than that I thought he did a tremendous job.”
In Darvish’s last start against the Yankees, he threw his slider 34 percent of the time. Darvish has relied more and more on his breaking pitches in the second half of the season. He threw them 35.9 percent of the time in his first start of the second half at Toronto.
You just have to go with what works.
Against Gardner, nothing was working.
In the third, Gardner hit a two-seam fastball to center field for the first run of the game. In the fifth, Darvish tried a cutter and Gardner sent it 407 feet to center for a 2-0 lead. Darvish was behind the mound smiling in disbelief that Gardner hit the ball so far.
“Honestly, I didn’t think it was going to go out,” Darvish said through his interpreter. “But I just blame the parents of Brett Gardner. I just blame them for creating a great hitter.”
But Darvish survived Gardner’s two-homer night, as well as Jeter’s three hits and a walk.
It was the seventh inning when Darvish excelled:
The Yankees were rallying from a two-run deficit and were down two outs but had two hits from, yeah, Gardner and Jeter before Darvish faced Brian McCann.
The count went 2-2 as Darvish threw a cutter in the dirt. And instead of someone hitting it out the park, McCann missed it.
Darvish pumped his arms twice and yelled as the crowd of 44,508 screamed with him.
Darvish tried to downplay the emotions of the evening by simply stating, “I’m just glad they didn’t tie the game.”
Washington was a little more expansive when describing the work of his pitcher who rarely shows emotions on the field.
“That was just an example of his competitive juices; that was a tough inning,” Washington said. “The game could have been tied right there if he didn’t get out of that inning. Once he got out of that inning, of course, he should show excitement. I’m glad he did. It was a tense time.”
Darvish struck out eight through seven innings of work, allowing the two runs on nine hits. He threw 108 pitches, including 80 for strikes, in what can’t be described as a dominant effort but one that was solid and offers additional evidence why he’s the Rangers’ ace.