ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Yu Darvish came oh, so close again.
The Japanese ace fell one out shy of a no-hitter for the second time last night, giving up only a ninth-inning single to David Ortiz in the Texas Rangers’ 8-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Rookie second baseman Rougned Odor, positioned in shallow right field, made a diving attempt but the ball was out of his reach. If the Rangers had not shifted their infield — a standard practice against Ortiz — it probably would have been a routine grounder to second.
Darvish lost a perfect-game bid with two outs in the ninth inning last season against Houston. This time, he bent his knees and put his glove on his hips after the base hit. Texas manager Ron Washington then made a slow walk to the mound, with the 45,392 in attendance cheering and chanting “Yuuuuuu!”
Darvish struck out 12 and walked two while throwing 126 pitches.
The 20-year-old Odor, playing his second major league game, and Ortiz were also involved in the seventh-inning play that ended Darvish’s try for a perfect game.
Darvish struck out eight of the first 11 batters he faced and retired 20 in a row until Ortiz hit a high popup to right field with two outs in the seventh.
Four weeks ago, Darvish was perfect through five innings at home against the Astros before a leadoff single in the sixth. He threw eight scoreless innings that night in a game the Rangers won 1-0 in 12 innings.
Clay Buchholz allowed six runs and 10 hits over 4 1-3 innings for the Sox. He struck out three and walked two while throwing 96 pitches.
It was Darvish’s 21st career game with at least 10 strikeouts, the most in the majors since his debut in 2012. Detroit’s Max Scherzer is next on the list with 14 in that span.