Yu Darvish flirts with perfection


Yu Darvish was almost perfect tonight against the Astros. In fact, the Rangers starter came within one out of pitching a perfect game. Marwin Gonzalez spoiled the party with a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning. Darvish came within an eyelash of fielding Gonzalez’s sharp grounder back through the box, but it wasn’t to be.

Darvish, who was over 110 pitches, was then removed from the game and the Astros managed one more hit before going down to defeat by a score of 7-0. The 26-year old from Habikino Japan was at the top of his game. He dominated Astros hitters with a perfect mixture of low-nineties fastballs and devastating breaking pitches that the Astros simply couldn’t lay off of.

Yu Darvish (Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)

Fifteen Astros went down via the strikeout in the game.Darvish fanned fourteen and Michael Kirkman finished things off by striking out pinch-hitter J.D. Martinez for the final out.

The game had an eerie similarity to last season’s perfect game pitched by Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants. Fortunately for Astros fans, this time it turned out differently. Things would have gotten pretty ugly on twitter and the rest of the internet had Darvish been able to snare that comebacker. And being on the wrong end of a perfecto would probably have a lasting effect on such a young club.

But as it is, it’s only one loss — and tomorrow is another day.

Lost in all of the hoopla was an outstanding performance by Astros starting pitcher Lucas Harrell. The Rangers managed only one run against Harrell in six innings. Unfortunately, the Astros bullpen was unable to keep them in the game. The Rangers scored two runs in each of the final three innings, making the the possibility of the perfect game the only drama remaining.

For the Rangers, Lance Berkman went 3 for 4 with a walk and drove in two runs. Ian Kinsler had two hits, including a seventh inning homer. Craig Gentry doubled, tripled, and scored the first two runs of the contest.

The Astros won’t have much time to think about this one. Tomorrow’s series finale and rubber game will start at 1:10 in the afternoon. Alexi Ogando will be on the mound for the Rangers and Philip Humber will be making his Astros debut.