Darvish Dazzles in Near-Perfect Debut

Don't even really know what to say about what Yu Darvish did on Tuesday night in his 2013 debut.

Early on, after he'd struck out five batters through two innings and just absolutely baffled the Astros hitters, you knew you were in for something special. Yet, it was a grounder through Darvish's legs with 26 of the 27 hitters down by a guy named Marwin that ended Darvish's perfect-game bid with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. But still, Darvish's game on Tuesday will forever be remembered down the road after he struck out a career-high 14 batters and walked none.

Darvish showed just how great he can be, and what makes him so untouchable when he's on. He had all of his pitches going, not really throwing an out-fastball until the middle innings and living off his slider all night. In fact, 12 of his 14 strikeouts came on the slider — 10 swinging, two looking.

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Yet, in the ninth inning, he threw nothing but cut fastballs, getting two groundouts before Marwin Gonzalez's single.

"He had them all going," said Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who caught a perfect game from Philip Humber last season with the White Sox. Humber is the Astros' scheduled starter for Wednesday's series finale.

Darvish, who appeared to look at his right hand a few times over the final innings of the game possibly battling a forming blister, is scheduled to make his next start in primetime on Sunday against Josh Hamilton and the Los Angeles Angels.

He seems to be taking his flirtation with perfection in stride, as he had a smile on his face after giving up the two-out single in the ninth before Ron Washington came to the mound to get him after 111 pitches.

"I went as far as I could go, and that was satisfying," Darvish said.

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