MLB ROUNDUP: Darvish comes up inches shy of perfection
Yu Darvish literally came within inches of perfection.
Darvish was one out from a perfect game when Marwin Gonzalez grounded a clean single through the pitcher’s legs, and Texas beat the Houston Astros 7-0 on Tuesday night.
A screen shot of the play showed the ball sail what looked to be less than a foot below the pitcher’s glove and into the outfield.
“That was impossible to catch,” Darvish said through a translator.
The right-hander from Japan struck out a career-high 14 and was in complete control before Gonzalez smacked the first pitch he saw up the middle. Darvish was unable to get his glove down in time and the ball skittered into center field well beyond a desperate dive by shortstop Elvis Andrus.
At that moment, one thought went through Darvish’s mind.
“I can now go back to the dugout,” he deadpanned. “Even if I got the complete game today, it’s not going to translate to three or five wins. It’s a win. A win’s a win.”
Darvish smiled and put up his hands — as if to say, “Oh well, it happens.” Texas’ infielders quickly came to the mound, and manager Ron Washington joined them.
Washington patted Darvish on the chest and then signaled for a reliever. A crowd of 22,673 that included plenty of Rangers fans cheered Darvish as he walked off after 111 pitches. He stopped and tipped his cap before getting high-fives from teammates in the dugout. He sat on the bench to watch the rest of the game then joined the handshake line after the final out.
Working from the stretch throughout — even though he never needed to — Darvish became the first pitcher to lose a perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning since Armando Galarraga on June 2, 2010. Of course, the Detroit pitcher was denied only because of an infamous missed call at first base by umpire Jim Joyce, who later admitted he blew the play.
ORIOLES 7, RAYS 4: Adam Jones keyed a seventh-inning rally with a go-ahead, two-run double, and Chris Davis followed with a three-run homer to help Baltimore open the season with a win over Tampa Bay. Matt Wieters homered early off AL Cy Young Award winner David Price. Davis’ towering shot over the right-field wall broke open the game and silenced a sellout crowd of 34,078 at Tropicana Field. Jason Hammel (1-0) allowed three runs and three hits in six innings. Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.
INDIANS 4, BLUE JAYS 1: R.A. Dickey and overhauled Toronto lost its season opener to Cleveland. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run homer off NL Cy Young Award winner Justin Masterson, and the Indians ended their streak of opening-day losses at four. Excited by the winter acquisitions of Dickey, Jose Reyes and other All-Stars, fans in Toronto were eager to see the revamped roster in action. Instead, a disappointed sellout crowd of 48,857 watched Masterson and three relievers combine on a four-hitter. Dickey (0-1) allowed four runs, three earned, and five hits in six innings. The knuckleballer walked four and struck out four. His catcher, J.P. Arencibia, was charged with three passed balls in the first two innings.
MARINERS 7, ATHLETICS 1: Michael Morse hit a three-run homer and a solo shot, and Hisashi Iwakuma followed Felix Hernandez’s gem with an impressive outing in Seattle’s win over Oakland. Iwakuma (1-0) struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter. He gave up a leadoff homer by Yoenis Cespedes in the second inning, then regrouped and retired 15 of his final 16 hitters.
GIANTS 3, DODGERS 0: Madison Bumgarner pitched two-hit ball over eight innings, giving San Francisco a win against Los Angeles and overshadowing the major league debut of high-priced Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu. Bumgarner (1-0) struck out six and walked none. Ryu’s debut helped draw 45,431 fans to see the left-hander who signed a $36 million, six-year deal with the team in December, making him the first player to go directly from the Korea Baseball Organization to the majors. He gave up three runs — one earned — and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out five, walked none.
CARDINALS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 1: Matt Holliday, Pete Kozma and Jon Jay homered as St. Louis beat Arizona to even their season-opening series at a game apiece. Jaime Garcia (1-0) gave up two hits, one of them a homer by Miguel Montero, in 5 2-3 innings for the Cardinals. Holliday’s two-run shot off Trevor Cahill broke a 1-all tie in the sixth. Kozma added a leadoff homer and Jay a two-run drive off the right-field foul pole, both off reliever Heath Bell in the seventh.
ROCKIES 8, BREWERS 4: Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez each homered for the second straight game, leading Colorado over Milwaukee and giving Walt Weiss his first win as a major league manager. Ryan Braun hit his first homer of the season for Milwaukee, a two-run shot. Edgmer Escalona (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief for the win. Rafael Betancourt got one out for his first save.