Darvish strikes out 11, but takes first loss

Darvish strikes out 11, but takes first loss

Darvish strikes out 11, but takes first loss
CLEVELAND -- Yu Darvish has lost his first game as a Major League pitcher. He didn't seem too concerned about it.

"If this was my first loss, I might be emotional," Darvish said. "But in high school and as a professional in Japan, I had experiencing in losing a lot games, so I'm not going to dwell on this."

Manager Ron Washington, going over a 4-2 loss to the Indians on Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field, wasn't too concerned about his starting pitcher either.

"If we could have put up some runs on the board early, it might have been a different situation," Washington said.

The Rangers didn't get those runs early. Instead, their offense continues to struggle in the absence of third baseman Adrian Beltre, and they were shut out for seven innings on Sunday afternoon by Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez. The Rangers, trailing 4-0, scored two runs in the eighth against Indians reliever Tony Sipp, but that didn't keep them from losing for the sixth time in their last nine games.

It came down to Jimenez just out-pitching Darvish.

"You have to go out there and bring your 'A' game because he's really tough," Jimenez said. "I've seen him on TV, the guy is out there pitching well every time and giving his team a chance to win. The thing you put in your mind is that you have to go out there and compete really hard."

The Rangers are also now 1-4 in the past five games while Beltre has been out of the lineup with a strained left hamstring. During those five games they are hitting .249 with a .333 slugging percentage, and have hit just two home runs, one of which was Beltre's pinch-hit three-run home run in the 11th inning on Saturday night.

"The biggest thing is we're not hitting as well with guys in scoring position as we have been," outfielder Josh Hamilton said. "We're getting guys on base, we just have to do a better job of getting them in."

The Rangers were just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Sunday afternoon and Beltre's presence in the middle of the order was missed. The Rangers top three hitters -- Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Hamilton -- had three hits and four walks in 13 plate appearances, but Michael Young, David Murphy and Nelson Cruz were 2-for-12 with five strikeouts behind them. Cruz was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Beltre didn't get to the plate as a pinch-hitter until the ninth inning. This time he batted with one on and one out, and flied out to right field.

"It's obvious that he's a run producer," Washington said. "Since he has been down and since Josh was down [last week in Toronto], we've had trouble producing runs. It's not like we're not playing well, we're just not getting the runs in. It's up and down the lineup, not just one area. Everybody has had opportunities to get runs in, we just haven't done it."

The Rangers had two on with one out in the first and couldn't get a run across. Hamilton was thrown out trying to advance to second on a wild pitch and, although Andrus moved to third on the play, Young grounded out to end the inning. The Rangers also had the bases loaded with two outs in the third and Jimenez struck out Young to end the threat.

Instead the Indians were the ones that took advantage of a couple breaks given to them by the Rangers in a three-run third.

The inning started with Johnny Damon hitting a high routine popup near second base that Kinsler lost in the sun. The ball dropped for a single, Darvish walked Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera brought them both home with a double down the first-base line.

"The popup, it went into the sun, it could happen to anybody," Darvish said. "It goes into the sun, it could have been anybody, what can you do?"

Darvish struck out the next two hitters, and then got Shin-Soo Choo to hit one deep into the hole at shortstop. Elvis Andrus made a back-handed stop on the outfield grass, jumped up and fired to first. But his throw sailed over Young's head at first, allowing Cabrera to score from second.

"Ian didn't see it, it dropped, and the next thing you know they get three runs," Washington said. "If Ian had caught that popup, you never know, it might have been a different game."

That gave the Indians a 3-0 lead, and they added another run in the fifth on Kipnis' fourth home run of the season. Darvish left trailing 4-0 after six innings.

"He gave up four runs and we gave them one," Washington said. "Three runs is what I mean by keeping us in the ballgame. We can score three runs, we just didn't do it today."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.