HOUSTON -- Not surprisingly, Yu Darvish took his close call with perfection on Tuesday night like the graceful pitcher he's been in 30 starts with the Rangers.
In fact, he brushed it aside, then said his domination of the Houston Astros wasn't the best he's ever pitched as a Ranger. He also didn't show any signs of moping about the rocket ground ball that blazed through his legs and broke up his perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning.
"I think my teammates were more disappointed than I was," Darvish said through a translator after the Rangers' 7-0 victory over the Astros. Darvish was an out away from throwing the 24th perfect game in major league history.
Darvish needed just four pitches to get the first two outs of the bottom of the ninth. Facing his 27th hitter, Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, Darvish went with the same cutter he threw for every pitch in the ninth inning. Unfortunately, Darvish hung the pitch, and Gonzalez was able to get the barrel of the bat on it, lining it to center field for a single.
"That was impossible to catch," Darvish said.
It was a big moment for Gonzalez, who was part of the Astros team that had a perfect game thrown against it last year by San Francisco's Matt Cain.
"I didn't want to be the last out," Gonzalez said. "I was trying to look for a good pitch to hit and put the ball in play. That's all I was thinking in my mind."
It was one of the few mistakes Darvish made. He was that dominant.
Still, at one point during his postgame news conference, Darvish said it wasn't the best game he's pitched in the major leagues, even though he had a career-high 14 strikeouts and retired the first 26 batters he faced, all but maybe three of them rather easily.
He said he was better in a start last September against the Kansas City Royals when he retired the first 17 batters he faced.
"I think I got lucky today," Darvish said. "I felt I pitched better against the Royals last year. I had better command in that outing."