The Cleveland Indians handed Japanese standout Yu Darvish his first major league loss as they jumped on the Texas Rangers pitcher for three runs in the third inning on the way to a 4-2 victory on Sunday.
Ubaldo Jimenez pitched seven scoreless innings for the AL Central Division-leading Indians as he outperformed Darvish.
“You have to go out there and bring your ‘A’ game because he’s really tough,” Jimenez, who struck out six and gave up two hits, told reporters. “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,” he added.
Darvish, whom the Rangers signed to a six-year deal worth almost US$60 million, won his first four starts in the US big leagues, but he lasted only six innings against the Indians.
“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 of games, so I’m not going to dwell on this.”
Asdrubal Cabrera doubled home two runs, then scored on an infield single to give Cleveland a commanding lead in the third.
Jason Kipnis made it 4-0 with a fifth-inning home run, also off Darvish, who struck out 11 but gave up six hits.
“If we could have put up some runs on the board early, it might have been a different situation,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Texas, the West Division leaders, scored twice in the eighth on Josh Hamilton’s ground out to first and Michael Young’s run scoring single.
ANGELS 4, BLUE JAYS 3
In Anaheim, California, Albert Pujols finally hit a home run for the Los Angeles Angels, ending the longest power drought of his career in a win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Pujols connected in the fifth inning for his first AL homer and the 446th overall. When he returned to the dugout, he had it all to himself. No players, no coaches, no batboys.
Pujols’ teammates gave him the silent treatment, a plot hatched by Torii Hunter. They were all waiting for the slugger in the tunnel leading to the clubhouse. Then, a burst of euphoria and they were all back on the bench, high-fiving and slapping him all over his body.
The three-time National League MVP had gone 33 games and 139 at-bats dating to last year without a home run in the regular season.
Pujols drove a 2-2 pitch from Drew Hutchison (1-1) into the left-field bullpen for a two-run shot. He homered in his 28th game and 111th at-bat with the Angels, who signed him to a 10-year, US$240 million contract as a free agent in December last year.
ORIOLES 9, RED SOX 6 (17)
In Boston, Baltimore designated hitter Chris Davis overcame an awful day at the plate by pitching two scoreless innings and getting the win as the Orioles outlasted Boston in the first major league game since 1925 in which both teams put a position player on the mound.
Davis went 0-for-8, striking out five times and grounding into a double play. However, in a season full of surprises for the Orioles, a first baseman by trade delivered the biggest one yet in a crazy game at Fenway Park.
Adam Jones hit a three-run homer in the top of the 17th off Darnell McDonald (0-1), an outfielder the Red Sox turned to once their bullpen was empty.
The last time two teams brought in position players to pitch in the same game was Oct. 4, 1925, when Hall of Famers Ty Cobb of Detroit and George Sisler of the St Louis Browns closed out the second game of a doubleheader on the last day of the season, STATS LLC said.