Darvish tames A’s
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Except for one inning – actually one pitch – rookie Tommy Milone stood toe-to-toe with baseball’s best hitting team on the road and their high-profile first-year pitcher, Yu Darvish.
Milone gave up a two-run home run to Adrian Beltre in a decisive four-run fourth inning in the Rangers’ 4-1 victory Wednesday.
Beltre homer was his ninth against Oakland pitching the past two years.
“It’s kind of hard, especially when you feel good, and you’re out there and feel like you got your ‘A’ game going and you get an inning like that,” said Milone (5-3), who walked only one batter and struck out four over seven innings.
“But I think the important thing was to come back from that and continue to stay in there and keep the team in the game and hopefully score. It didn’t happen tonight, but that’s the game plan as a pitcher.
A big reason for a lack of run support was Darvish (6-1), who struck out seven and gave up one run on four hits in 7 2-3 strong innings in winning his sixth game in seven decisions.
After giving up a run in the first, Darvish settled down and retired 11 of the last 15 batters he faced. He lowered his ERA to 2.60.
Mike Adams struck out Johnny Gomes, who represented the tying run, for the final out in the eighth. Joe Nathan struck out the side in the ninth his eighth save.
“He was very efficient and made them swing the bat,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Broke his cutter out tonight and moved his fastball around the zone.”
Craig Gentry and Elvis Andrus each had two hits, including run-scoring singles in the fourth.
Gentry beat out an infield single to third on a potential third out to score Nelson Cruz.
“I thought he threw the ball extremely well,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “And really, if we get the ball over to first base on the Gentry ground ball, it’s a 2-1 game.
“I thought, considering it’s his first time pitching here to that lineup, I don’t know how he could have done much better.”
The Rangers sent nine players to the plate in a four-run fourth inning that was started by Josh Hamilton’s infield single and Beltre’s home run.
Gentry and Andrus added run-scoring hits. Hamilton, who extended his hitting streak to an AL season-best 16 games, had two hits and a run scored.
Josh Reddick gave Oakland a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. He struck out in his next three at-bats.
“They’re just a good-hitting team, they put the ball in play and they made things happen,” Milone said. “They got on base and led to the four runs in that inning.”
Notes: Michael Young was out of the Rangers lineup, the third consecutive day manager Ron Washington gave at least one of the regulars a break. “One more guy, then I’ve done everyone.” That would be slugger Josh Hamilton. Washington said before the game he wasn’t sure when Hamilton would get a break, and was waiting to see what happened in the game. … Milone entered the game allowing a .175 average to batters leading off an inning, fifth lowest in the AL. … Alexi Ogando has not allowed a run in 15 1-3 consecutive innings. He did not pitch Wednesday.