Pulling fast ones: Jays pounce on Yu's heat

Rangers' Darvish serves up career-high 4 homers, 3 in fifth, after falling behind and relying on fastball

Pulling fast ones: Jays pounce on Yu's heat

ARLINGTON -- Four fastballs, four home runs. For Yu Darvish, the damage was swift. And for his Rangers, those four blasts were too much to overcome as the Blue Jays held on for a 5-3 win in Friday afternoon's Game 2 of the American League Division Series and now head to Toronto with a firm 2-0 grip on the best-of-five battle.

Darvish had allowed three home runs in a game only twice in his Major League career, but the Blue Jays equaled that feat in the fifth inning alone on a damp afternoon at Globe Life Park, where they made the most of their six hits on the day.

"Four unexecuted pitches is what it boils down to," said Rangers manager Jeff Banister. "Four home runs and four unexecuted pitches."

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Darvish became the first pitcher to allow four homers in a postseason game since the Twins' Rick Reed in 2002, tying a Major League record that has occurred eight times in playoff history.

"In baseball, these kind of things can happen," said Darvish.

Troy Tulowitzki set the early tone in the second with a two-run homer to left on a 96.2-mph fastball in a 2-0 count. Other than a Tulowitzki single in the fourth, that was the only hit Darvish surrendered until the ill-fated fifth, when Kevin Pillar (2-1 count), Ezequiel Carrera (1-1) and Edwin Encarnacion (2-1) all took him deep on fastballs.

"With Tulo, we were trying to go down and away," Banister said. "Encarnacion, Pillar and Carrera, we missed across the plate. They hit the ball out of the ballpark. Other than that, I felt Yu threw the ball well."

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But Darvish, whose success is based largely on his ability to keep hitters guessing between his mid-90s fastball and variety of offspeed offerings, didn't fool the Blue Jays when he got behind in those key at-bats and then didn't command his heater.

"I was struggling with the strike zone, and then was getting behind in the count, and they were looking for fastballs," Darvish said. "And when I left it on the plate, they got it."

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So while Toronto starter J.A. Happ was surviving nine singles in his five-plus frames, the Blue Jays capitalized on their five hits off Darvish, who turned a 5-1 deficit over to his bullpen after his five-inning outing.

The Blue Jays hadn't faced Darvish since 2014, prior to his Tommy John surgery, but they had a 1.84 ERA in two previous meetings. So they were happy to be so productive against the 30-year-old standout.

"Home runs are always a good thing," said Toronto skipper John Gibbons.

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"We all know how talented he is," said Tulowitzki. "I actually got to face him in an All-Star Game, that was my only time. He's got good stuff. You see all those strikeouts. He got behind 2-0, threw a fastball and I put a nice swing on it. It was nice to get on top of him early, especially on the road."

Darvish is now 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in his postseason career for the Rangers, with his previous start a loss to the Orioles in the AL Wild Card Game in his rookie season of 2012.

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He'll need the Rangers to battle back to get another shot in these playoffs. If it does happen, expect some consultation with catcher Jonathan Lucroy before he takes the mound again.

"Me and Lucroy, we need to talk," Darvish said. "Maybe we went too much on the fastballs today."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.