Expectations for Yu Darvish were every bit as big as the contract he signed to move from his native Japan.
He continues to meet and perhaps even exceed them.
Darvish pitched 7 2/3 strong innings and Adrian Beltre had a two-run homer to help the Texas Rangers beat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Wednesday night.
"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."
Darvish (6-1) gave up one run and four hits while striking out seven to win his sixth game in seven decisions and give a weary Rangers bullpen a rest.
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. The Rangers committed more than $107 million to acquire Darvish.
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.
"No matter what the situation, I try to throw as many inning as I can and go as long as possible," Darvish said through an interpreter when asked if he was aware the bullpen needed some downtime after long man Scott Feldman's spot start Monday, middle man Robbie Ross and a Alexi Ogando's tireless work over the last week.
"I was able to throw with less effort," Darvish said. "Getting taken out in the middle of the eighth is something that I'm not completely satisfied with."
Craig Gentry and Elvis Andrus each had two hits, including run-scoring singles in a decisive fourth inning.
Gentry beat out an infield single to third to score Nelson Cruz.
Oakland rookie pitcher Tommy Milone (5-3) gave up four runs in seven innings, holding the Rangers' offense down until the fourth.
"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.
Beltre has tormented Oakland pitching. His homer was his ninth against the A's in the last two seasons.
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.
"He has been as advertized," Washington said. "He's a strikeout pitcher, and he's been that."
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. ... Ogando has not allowed a run in 15 1-3 consecutive innings. He did not pitch Wedneday.