Apr 24, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
It was all over in a heartbeat. The Yankees were down 1-0 in the third with no outs and the bases loaded. Curtis Granderson was called out on a borderline full count pitch* and A-Rod grounded into a double play two pitches later. It was the Yanks best chance of the night and they squandered it. A hit from either Grandy or Alex and it seemed like it would've snowballed for Darvish, who was struggling with command. Overall, the lineup went 1-7 with RISP (they didn't score because the one hit was a bunt single).
That aside, you've got to give credit to Yu Darvish, who settled down after the third, retiring 16 of the next 21 batters; he struck out 10 Yankees overall. Did the Yankees choke when it mattered or did Darvish "buckle down" with RISP? A bit of both? He reached 97 MPH in the middle innings and even hit 96 in the ninth (but was generally 92-94). Outside of the first three innings, he was excellent.
Anyway, Darvish came out to start the ninth and induced a Mark Teixeira pop-out, but a Nick Swisher single forced him out in place of Joe Nathan. Raul Ibanez swung at Nathan's first pitch and grounded into a tailor-made double-play that ended the contest.
The good news is that Hiroki Kuroda was no slouch either, tossing 6.2 innings of two-run ball. He was just the hard luck loser tonight, dropping his record to 1-3. If you told me he'd do what he did before the game, I'd take it against any team, never mind Texas.
- The Yankees actually outhit the Rangers, 7-5, but a first inning Ian Kinsler home run was all the scoring Texas needed. The problem was that the 3-7 hitters went 3-16 (.188). They could never string together a rally.
- What is it with Josh Hamilton and losing his bat? He sent his bat flying into right field twice tonight and once last night. I've never seen that with such frequency.
* For what it's worth, the pitch was comfortably outside.
Play of the Game: A-Rod's GIDP that ended the third inning (-17%).
Btw, check out Pinstripe Alley's twitter tomorrow at 7 p.m. I'll be live tweeting Andy Pettitte's Trenton Thunder start.