ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ichiro Suzuki didn’t want to discuss Yu Darvish’s stuff, shrugging off a question about his countryman’s performance in Darvish’s Texas Rangers debut.
But Ichiro volunteered praise for Darvish’s demeanor after the Rangers’ 11-5 win Monday night over the Seattle Mariners.
“My impression was good. Not his pitching, but just in general,” Ichiro said through an interpreter after going 3-for-4 with a bloop single, a double and a sharply hit single off Darvish. “After he was taken out of the game, you saw the crowd with that standing ovation, but he didn’t tip his cap. You could tell that he wasn’t very happy [or] satisfied with his pitching. That shows pride. That’s a good mentality. That’s what I liked about him.”
It wasn’t the kind of performance that fulfilled expectations for Darvish, in whom the Rangers made a nine-figure investment to bring over from Japan. He allowed five earned runs on eight hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings, getting the win due to the run support from the Rangers’ homer-happy lineup.
But the home crowd of 42,003 appreciated Darvish’s grit and determination after he got roughed up in the early going. Seattle scored four runs in the first and tacked on another in the second, but Darvish recovered with four scoreless innings to get the ball to the Rangers’ bullpen horses with a lead.
“He’s definitely got good stuff,” said No. 5 hitter Kyle Seager, who went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs against Darvish. “Fortunately for us today, we were able to get ahead of him, especially early. We got in good hitters’ counts and we were able to get some runs across there. I felt like we put pressure on him the rest of the game. We just didn’t get that big hit that we needed to get us over the edge.”
There was a lot of talk in the Seattle clubhouse about a lack of familiarity with Darvish’s stuff, but the Mariners had all their success against him in the time and a half through the lineup.
“He throws hard. That slider is deceptive,” said No. 9 hitter Brendan Ryan, who went hitless. “You just like seeing one guy over and over. That kind of thing, the more comfortable that you’ll feel. I’m sure he’s going to pitch a lot better than he did tonight, and I’m sure that he’s not very satisfied with it.”
Seattle second baseman Munenori Kawasaki had plenty of experience against Darvish, having gone 19-for-86 with 19 strikeouts against him in the Japan League.
“He’s been a great pitcher in Japan and I’m sure he’ll be very successful here, too,” Kawasaki said through a translator after going 1-for-2 with a walk against Darvish on Monday. “I’m sure he’ll pick it up and do much better as he moves forward.”