Yu Darvish enjoyed one of his best performances of the season to help the high-flying Texas Rangers edge out the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Tuesday as the home team recorded a sixth win in seven games.
The Japanese rookie right-hander blew away Tampa Bay with 10 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings to put his mid-season troubles behind him and condemn the Rays (70-59) to a fourth straight defeat.
Darvish (13-9) had missed his previous start with a leg injury and lost five of his past seven decisions entering the contest, but against the Rays, he managed to deliver his first shutout since April 24.
“Tonight, I felt really good,” Darvish told reporters. “I was not worried about throwing strikes or giving up walks. I just focused on each pitch and getting hitters out.”
Mike Adams tossed the eighth and closer Joe Nathan struck out the side in the ninth for his 27th save of the season.
Tampa Bay’s James Shields (12-8) nearly matched Darvish pitch-for-pitch, striking out eight and allowing just one run in seven innings, but the home run he surrendered to Ian Kinsler in the fourth turned out to be the difference between the teams.
“[Shields] did a good job of pitching tonight, and luckily I got a fastball in,” Kinsler said. “That’s the goal — to win games, regardless of how it’s done.”
The four-game losing streak is a worry for the Rays, who have lost their lead in the American League wild-card standings and now trail Oakland and Baltimore by 1.5 games.
Texas (77-52), meanwhile, maintained their 5.5-game advantage over the Athletics in the AL West.
Yankees 2, Blue Jays 1
In New York, Phil Hughes had another fine start at home, Nick Swisher extended his torrid streak with an RBI single and New York handed Ricky Romero his 11th straight loss on Tuesday night with a 2-1 victory over Toronto.
Hughes (13-11) won his sixth consecutive decision at Yankee Stadium, giving up only Adeiny Hechavarria’s first major league homer in seven innings. He allowed four hits and walked three.
Rafael Soriano bounced back from a blown save Monday night, when he gave up a go-ahead homer to Colby Rasmus with two outs in the ninth, by working a perfect inning to finish the four-hitter for his 34th save in 37 tries.
Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly to help the Yankees to their fifth win in 12 games. They beat Romero (8-12) for the third time during his winless skid.
The left-hander has not won in 12 starts since June 22. The Blue Jays have provided little help, though, giving him just 17 runs of support in his last 10 starts.
ORIOLES 6, WHITE SOX 0
In Baltimore, Maryland, Chris Tillman allowed one hit over seven innings and Nick Markakis drove in three runs as Baltimore defeated Chris Sale and Chicago for their fourth straight win.
Lew Ford homered for the second time in two nights and Adam Jones hit his 100th career home run for the Orioles, who moved a season-high 14 games over .500 (71-57) and remained atop the AL wild-card standings.
The only hit against Tillman (7-2) was an infield dribbler by Dayan Viciedo in the fifth inning that shortstop J.J. Hardy couldn’t snag with an attempted barehanded pickup. Pitching on six days’ rest, Tillman walked four, struck out five and did not allow a runner past second.
Brian Matusz worked the final two innings, allowing one hit in completing Baltimore’s seventh shutout.