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Monday, September 9, 2013
Matchup: Yu Darvish vs. Gerrit Cole

By Todd Wills

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates open a crucial three-game interleague series on Monday night with right-hander Yu Darvish facing rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole at 7:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.

Darvish (12-7, 2.91): Darvish looks for his first win in five outings. ... He's lost consecutive starts for the first time this season. ... Darvish is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in his last four starts. ... He imploded in his biggest start of the season Wednesday at Oakland, an 11-4 loss in the rubber game with the A's. ... Darvish allowed five runs in five innings, giving up two home runs and tying a career high with six walks. ... Two walks came before home runs by Oakland's Brandon Moss and Daric Barton. ... The five runs matched Darvish's season high. ... He leads the majors with 240 strikeouts, the second highest total in Rangers history behind Nolan Ryan's 301 Ks in 1989. ... Despite his struggles, Darvish is still fourth in the American League in ERA and has an AL-best .192 opponents batting average. ... He is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA in five interleague starts.

Cole (6-7, 3.74): The 22-year-old right-hander out of UCLA makes his 16th major league start. ... He took a no-decision in the Pirates' 4-3 victory over Milwaukee on Tuesday night. ... Cole allowed two earned runs in six innings. ... He has lost seven of his last nine decisions. ... Cole has pitched well in his rookie season, allowing three earned runs or less in 14 of his 15 starts. ... He is 0-2 with 4.12 ERA in his last four road starts .. Cole is a classic power pitcher who has issued more than two walks just once so far in his young career.

Hitters: Darvish has never faced the Pirates. Cole hasn't faced the Rangers. New Pittsburgh addition Justin Morneau (1-for-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI) hit a game-winning home run off Darvish for the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 30. Darvish took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of that game, then allowed a walk and two-run homer to Twins catcher Chris Herrmann before Morneau's tie-breaking long ball.