Yu Darvish struggles again vs. Mariners

SEATTLE -- Maybe it's the Northwest green uniforms. Or the fact that Japanese icon Ichiro Suzuki is on the team. Whatever the case, Yu Darvish had another short outing on the mound against the Seattle Mariners.

Darvish lasted just four innings -- his shortest start in nine trips to the mound -- and allowed four earned runs on four hits and six walks in a 6-1 loss Monday night.

It appeared to be the pitchers duel everyone anticipated between Darvish and Felix Hernandez after two innings, but Darvish couldn't find the strike zone as his outing progressed.

Suzuki had an RBI triple in the first inning, but Darvish ended up striking out the side with his slider. Darvish faced the minimum in the second inning, but the wheels came off in the third.

Five of Darvish's six walks came in the third and fourth innings. Suzuki drove in his second run in the third on a ball Darvish left over the middle of the plate.

"Early part of the game, I was ok with my command," Darvish said through an interpretor. "But somewhere in the middle when I needed to throw strikes, I struggled to get strikes in those situations."

He didn't get off to a great start in the fourth. Darvish walked the bases loaded, yet managed to give up just one run thanks to some key force-outs at the plate on plays by third baseman Adrian Beltre and shortstop Elvis Andrus. He struck out Kyle Seager in what would be the last batter he faced.

"It's kind of tough giving up four hits and five runs," Mike Napoli said. "When you walk people, it's pretty tough to minimize damage."

Washington had a lengthy talk with Darvish in the dugout after his outing. He told Darvish he was pulled mainly due to his high pitch count, despite how he finished the fourth. Darvish threw 96 pitches.

"He actually didn't know how many pitches he had, and I was trying to explain to him we're not out to hurt you," Washington said. "That's a lot of pitches in a short period of time, and we need him for the rest of the season."

The Mariners are the only team to rack up more than three earned runs on Darvish, and they've now done it twice. It's the only team Darvish has faced more than once. The Mariners collected five earned runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings against Darvish in his first career start. The Mariners have accounted for nine of Darvish's 19 earned runs this season.

Darvish even apologized to Washington for his outing.

"He expected more, but I told him he didn't have to apologize to me," Washington said. "It's a part of baseball. It happens. But I'm more than certain when he sees Seattle again, he'll have something for them."

Darvish said Washington's comments were reassuring. He was disappointed he couldn't go deeper into the game and felt his overall approach Monday wasn't good.

"Next time I want to make sure that I don't go through that and improve on it," Darvish said.