Darvish was poised for history with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the 27th batter, Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, stepping into the batter's box. The feeling was that Darvish, who had dominated Houston all night, was going to join Kenny Rogers as the only Rangers pitchers to throw a perfect game.
"When you're throwing the ball as well as Yu was throwing it, you felt like he was going to get it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It wasn't meant to be."
When Darvish retired the first two Astros he faced in the ninth, Jason Castro and Carlos Corporan, second baseman Ian Kinsler admitted that he started thinking about what the celebration would be like.
But Gonzalez had other ideas. He swung at the first pitch -- a hanging cutter that he was looking for -- and lined it through Darvish's legs for a clean single to ruin the perfect-game bid.
"Yu got a little unlucky," Kinsler said. "He definitely threw a pitch where he didn't want to."
Elvis Andrus, who was hoping the ball would be deflected by Darvish and end up near him at shortstop, said it was one of those moments that wasn't mean to be, just like the 2011 World Series.
"That's baseball," Andrus said.
Despite an agonizing end to the game, Darvish's teammates said they were in awe of the way he dominated Astros hitters. Kinsler said it was the best pitched game he's been a part of, better than when Mark Buerhle no-hit him and the Rangers in 2007.
"It was so much fun to be a part of something like that," Kinsler said. "Whether it's completed or not. He just absolutely dominated the game."
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was one of the Rangers who talked to Darvish after the game.
"He knows how good he threw the ball," Pierzynski said. "After the game, he kind of smiled and laughed, and I kind of said some bad words to him and I was upset. He was good."