ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on August 28, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Coming off a 15-strikeout performance in his last start, Texas ace Yu Darvish looked sharp through the first four innings Sunday afternoon against the Seattle Mariners.
The next four innings were a different story as the Rangers' right-hander allowed the lead-off batter on base in each frame, resulting in three runs, and closer Joe Nathan also let the leadoff batter score in the ninth as the AL West-leading Rangers lost 4-3 to Seattle on Saturday.
"He just lost his command," Texas manager Ron Washington said of Darvish. "Earlier he was spotting it up and then as we got past the fifth inning there, he was just a little erratic with his command. But then again, he was able to pitch around a lot of that trouble also."
After each team scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings, Seattle's Kyle Seager took a pitch from Nathan that was nearly in the dirt down the right field line for the game-winning RBI double in the ninth.
The Mariners took two of three from Texas, and they scored three runs in 7 1-3 innings against Darvish in the series finale.
In Darvish's previous start, he took a no-hit bid into the eighth against Houston. The two-time All-Star from Japan struck out seven on Sunday against the Mariners, raising his major league-leading total to 214.
"In many games I have trouble with my command in any inning I throw, but today it happened after the sixth inning," Darvish said through a translator. Darvish gave up five of his seven hits and all four of his walks after the fourth. Darvish, who had 50 strikeouts in his last five starts, left after throwing 120 pitches. He walked four after walking a total of four in his previous three August starts.
Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre each had a hit and an RBI for Texas. Mitch Moreland's RBI sacrifice fly in the fifth scored A.J. Pierzynski for Texas' first run. Craig Gentry scored Texas' other two runs.
Seager took a leadoff four-pitch walk and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth against Darvish, and his two-out RBI double off Nathan won the game for the Mariners in the ninth.
Until an eighth inning, go-ahead home run against Texas on Friday, Seager has been 0 for 21, but he finished the weekend against Texas hitting 4 for 9 with a walk, two home runs, two doubles and four RBIs.
"I got ahead of Seager and made a pitch," Nathan said. "He hit a pitch that was probably going to be in the dirt if he didn't scoop it out of the ground before it got there. Hats off to him. Again he found a way to find the outfield grass when he needed it on a pitch that out of my hand felt pretty good. I'll take my chance with those."
Nathan (3-2) took over to begin the ninth with the score 3-all. Endy Chavez led off with a single, Humberto Quintero laid down a sacrifice bunt and Nick Franklin drew a two-out walk before Seager's go-ahead hit.
Yoervis Medina (4-3) got the win and Danny Farquhar earned his seventh save in 10 tries. Starter Erasmo Ramirez had a solid outing, pitching seven innings and giving up two runs, one earned, while taking the no-decision.