MINNEAPOLIS – Yu Darvish trots out an eephus pitch a few times a year, but to do so to the major league batting leader in front of millions of people watching the All-Star Game on TV took a bit of gall.
“It’s my strength,” Darvish joked through an interpreter.
Of course, Darvish has a few more “strengths” besides a 57-mph lob to take a batter by surprise, but he’s certainly willing to do whatever it takes to get somebody out.
He told reporters Monday he would throw one if he got in the game. He threw a slider for a ball, then pumped in a couple of 92-mph fastballs before breaking out the eephus to Troy Tulowitzki in the third inning. Tulowitzki took it for a ball and, two pitches later, lined to left for an out.
Darvish pitched a 1-2-3 inning, handing Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig one of his three strikeouts and inducing Paul Goldschmidt to line out as well. It was Darvish’s third All-Star bid, but his first time pitching in one. He was injured last season and available only to pitch in extra innings in 2012.
“I felt very honored,” Darvish said. “It ranks right up there. There are many great pitchers and I was able to pitch in the third spot.”
The Rangers' second representative, Adrian Beltre, entered as a defensive replacement in the top of the sixth and walked in his only at-bat in the bottom of the inning.