One trip around the bases has Yu Darvish thinking more like a hitter.
Darvish connected for only the second homer by a Rangers pitcher, and Adrian Beltre hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning Wednesday night for a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds and a split of their two-game interleague series.
Darvish's solo shot to center field was one of three homers by the Rangers, who wasted a three-run lead before rallying late.
"Just take the DH off and let me hit," he said, through a translator.
Well, maybe not.
"If I get another at-bat, I might strike out," he said. "I want to keep that (home run) image in my mind."
Beltre's double off Blake Wood (5-2) snapped a 5-5 tie.
Darvish's next start will be in an American League game with the DH preventing him from getting to try for an encore.
Darvish's big moment came in the fifth when he ended his 0 for 12 career slump. He tipped the bill of his batting helmet as he rounded third base and raised an index finger briefly as he headed for the plate. The only other Rangers pitcher to homer was Bobby Witt in 1997 at Dodger Stadium, in only their third interleague game.
"The way he did it — his whole at-bat looked good," Beltre said. "That wasn't a cheap home run. He hit it to straight center field."
Darvish looked good in batting practice before the game and assured manager Jeff Banister that he could hit.
"When he came back after hitting the home run, he reminded me that he'd told me he could hit," Banister said. "That's a big boy home run to center field. That ball was struck well."
He's the fifth pitcher to homer against the Reds this season.
"It was just a really bad pitch, something he could handle," pitcher Tim Adleman said.
Nomar Mazara had a three-homer, and Ian Desmond followed Darvish's homer in the fifth with one off Adleman. The Reds have given up 10 homers in the last three games, including four sets of back-to-back homers.
Darvish let a 5-2 lead slip away. He walked a season-high five batters and hit a batter in six innings. A passed ball and an error led to two unearned runs.
Jake Diekman (4-2) went one inning and got the win. Sam Dyson pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 32 chances.
The win snapped Texas' three-game losing streak. The Rangers haven't lost more than four straight this season. They improved to 28-8 in one-run games, best in the majors.
Carlos Beltran was hitless in four at-bats, leaving him in an 0-for-24 slump that matches his career high from 2000.
Darvish helped the Reds score two runs in the second. He hit Adam Duvall and walked two to load the bases. Duvall scored when Ramon Cabrera grounded into a forceout, and another run scored on Jonathan Lucroy's passed ball.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus' throwing error set up another unearned run in the fifth. Cabrera had an RBI double as the Reds tied it with three runs in the sixth, aided by another walk.
The Rangers are 11-6 in interleague play, with their pitchers going 4 for 21 at the plate. The Reds are 5-12.
The Rangers host the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, matching the top two teams in the AL. The last time they met so late in a season with both teams leading their divisions was 1999, according to STATS. The Rangers have won five of their last seven games with the Indians.
Rangers: RHP Tanner Scheppers had no problems after his third rehab appearance, an inning for Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday night. He's missed the season recovering from surgery on his left knee.
Reds: SS Zack Cozart missed his seventh straight game with an inflamed left Achilles tendon. He worked out on the field before the game. Manager Bryan Price said he could be back in the lineup this weekend.
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (13-4) opens a series in Arlington against the Cleveland Indians. Since the All-Star break, Hamels is 4-2 with a 1.85 ERA in seven starts.
Reds: After a day off, they open a series in Arizona. LHP Brandon Finnegan (8-9) has 13 quality starts and has been the victim of blown saves four times.