Darvish struggles, clutch hitting lacking in loss

Darvish struggles, clutch hitting lacking in loss

Darvish struggles, clutch hitting lacking in loss
ARLINGTON -- First the Rangers lost out on Zack Greinke to the Angels. Then Yu Darvish let a three-run lead disappear way too quickly. Then there was another promising late-inning rally that fizzled with Josh Hamilton right in the middle of it.

When the Rangers finally packed it in after a long night in front of a sellout crowd, they had gone down, 9-5, to the White Sox on a Friday night at the Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers finished the night 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and they committed two errors, one wild pitch and one passed ball.

"It was one of those games that wasn't as clean as we'd like it to be," first baseman Michael Young said after a loss that left the Rangers 2-2 on the homestand and 6-6 since the All-Star break.

There was also Darvish, who had a 4-1 lead after one inning and ended up allowing six runs in 6 1/3 innings. He is now 11-7 with a 4.05 ERA on the season.

"He was out there battling," manager Ron Washington said. "He kept us in the ballgame. There were a lot of positives."

There was also one big negative. The Rangers led after one inning on Nelson Cruz's three-run home run and trailed, 5-4, going into the bottom of the fourth. They trailed the rest of the night. The big blow was a two-run homer by Kevin Youkilis in the second. Darvish, with a runner on first, had two outs and was ahead 0-2 when he threw a fastball right down the middle.

It was the most disappointing moment of the night for Darvish.

"Very much so," Darvish said. "The team going out and giving me a lead, two outs, two strikes and giving up that home run,that's something that was very unfortunate. That was a very big part of the game, the big unfortunate event in the game."

The fourth inning wasn't much better. Darvish was going against the bottom of the White Sox order and retired Dayan Viciedo on a grounder to start the inning. But then Tyler Flowers, a backup catcher who was hitting .183, reached on a roller up the third-base line and Gordon Beckham, the No. 9 hitter, doubled to left. That put runners on second and third, and Alejandro De Aza followed with a grounder through the right side just beyond Young's reach for a two-run single.

"I went back and looked at the pitch, it wasn't a bad pitch at all," Darvish said. "It just happened to go through the infield, those things happen. My stuff was good but overall, it wasn't a very good game. Some of the balls that I gave up and hits went just through the infield. It just didn't go my way, but in the game of baseball these things happen, so you've just got to move on."

Chris Sale, the White Sox All-Star left-hander, wasn't particularly effective either but, after the first inning, he did do a better job of damage control than Darvish.

"I didn't have the best stuff," Sale said. "Fortunately for us we swung the bats and timely hitting and tacking on a few more in the late innings got us there."

"He's pretty good," Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "He made some good pitches. We had some good at-bats against him and some opportunities, but that's what a good pitcher does. He makes pitches."

The seventh inning was crucial. Both teams scored a run without getting a hit. The White Sox scored a run with the help of catcher Yorvit Torrealba's throwing error on Adam Dunn's steal of second. The Rangers, trailing 6-4, scored one run after loading the bases with one out after two walks and a hit batter.

Hamilton, facing left-hander Matt Thornton, drove in the run but it was on a grounder to first baseman Paul Konerko, who went for the force at second. The White Sox couldn't pull off the inning-ending double play but the rally still fizzled. Beltre then walked but Thornton got Young on a line drive to right to end the inning.

"We started tacking on some runs late but so were they," Young said. "They kept scoring as the game went on. That was big for them."

The White Sox added three more in the ninth against Alexi Ogando, who got extra work on Friday night. Ogando replaced Darvish and worked 2 2/3 innings while throwing 44 pitches. It was his longest relief outing of the season and the most pitches he has thrown in a game this season.

The Rangers want to stretch him out in case they decide to move him into the rotation. They did exactly that on Friday night. Other than that, it was not a good day for the Rangers.

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.