HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 2, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Yu Darvish had historically bad run support in his two outings prior to Thursday's series finale in Tampa Bay with the Rangers' wild card standing on the line.
In fact, Darvish has had pretty poor run support all season long as he's been the main victim of the Rangers' lifeless offense, as evidenced by his 2.81 ERA over 198 2/3 innings coupled with a 13-9 record.
On Thursday night, he got plenty of support from his teammates, and he needed it.
Darvish struggled horribly, tying his career-high with six walks and his career-low with four strikeouts while needing 109 pitches to get through five innings against the Rays. After being staked to a 1-0 lead before he even took the mound, Darvish proceeded to give up a run and then walk in another in the bottom of the first and it looked as if the Rangers would fall two games back of the Rays.
But then, Darvish's teammates took over. There were three home runs over a span of four batters in the third to give him the lead and after that he never relinquished it, going the final four innings of his day without surrendering another run with the help of inning-ending double plays and some lasers from Geovany Soto behind the plate to gun down to potential base-stealers in the second inning.
"I didn't have many of my pitches, fastballs or breaking balls," Darvish told reporters affer the game . "But somehow, I made it through five innings and kept the game close."
His fastball was all over the place, so he didn't throw it. And when he threw his slider and curve, he couldn't get over the plate half the time. But even after all of that, Darvish still followed a rough first inning with four shutout ones and picked up his first win in over a month.