Unable to command his lively fastball, Darvish delivered devastating breaking balls to work out of trouble during the first three innings of the Rangers' 8-8 tie with the Cleveland Indians in 10 innings Tuesday.
"I didn't feel that good and could not command my fastball," Darvish said through interpreter Joe Furukawa to the media throng after walking four and allowing two runs and three hits.
"If Torrealba is not catching, I think I'd give up 10 runs today," Darvish said. "Some of my pitches were so bad I don't think any hitters would swing at them."
Rangers bullpen coach Andy Hawkins wasn't so sure about that.
"His secondary pitches were as sharp as can be," Hawkins said. "With the bases loaded, he got two ground balls. One bounced through; the other was a double play. You like to see guys get nothing but outs, but he worked out of things today."
Yangervis Solarte's two-run homer off Indians starter Josh Tomlin helped Texas take a 7-0 lead after three.
"He's got good stuff," Kipnis said of Darvish. "He's got life on his fastball and looks comfortable out there. He struck me out with a good split-finger."
Darvish walked the first two hitters he faced. Torrealba erased both trying to steal second. The right-hander yielded a single to Jose Lopez in the second, then fanned Kipnis and Fred Lewis, before running into a jam in the third.
Jack Hanrahan reached on a double when center fielder Craig Gentry stumbled trying to make a running catch. Gentry left with a sprained left wrist. X-rays were negative.
Darvish then walked Marson and Michael Brantley and allowed a two-run ground ball single by Cabrera. He got Choo to bounce into the double play and finished off his second spring start by getting Travis Hafner on a fly ball to center.
"He got out of it with minimal damage," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Just because he didn't command it today doesn't mean he's an erratic pitcher. He works off his fastball, but when it is not there you go somewhere else. When you are a pitcher, you find a way. He did.
"If this was a regular game he stays in and maybe he finds it and puts up zeros and suddenly you're in the seventh inning. That's what good pitchers do and he's a good pitcher."
Darvish is learning to adapt to baseball, American-style.
"Usually in Japan, when struggling, a pitcher is allowed to play catch while his team is hitting," he said. "They don't do that here. I'm going to have to adjust."
Darvish said his only surprise thus far had been a pleasant one -- the work ethic of his teammates.
"It is amazing how much time players put in before and after games," he said.
Non-roster invitee Greg Miclat's RBI single in the ninth tied it at 8.
Indians 1B Casey Kotchman missed his third game with a sore back. "It's much better today," he said. "I just woke up with it Sunday -- it wasn't anything I did." ... Indians RHP Jeanmar Gomez allowed one hit over three innings. He has worked seven scoreless innings over three outings this spring. ... Torrealba and 1B Mitch Moreland each had two of Texas' 12 hits.