HOUSTON -- Yu Darvish retired the first six batters he faced in Saturday night's 8-7 victory over the Houston Astros, but you could tell early on he didn't have anywhere near the dominant stuff he had April 2 when he was one out from a perfect game.
Darvish went to a full count against three of the first six batters he faced. He allowed his first baserunner with one out in the third inning on Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez's solo home run to left field.
"I didn’t have 100 percent of any pitch today," Darvish said through an interpreter. "I think they were average."
Darvish made his worst pitches to Dominguez, who wasn't in the Houston lineup for the near-perfect game. The third-inning home run came on a two-seam fastball, a pitch Darvish struggled to find consistency with all night.
Dominguez wasn't finished. He belted a two-run home run just inside the left-field foul pole in the bottom of the fifth to give the Astros a 3-1 lead, this one on a cut fastball.
"He was really aggressive, and I think that’s why he did really good," Darvish said.
For a moment, it looked like Darvish might follow up his near-perfect game last month with a loss to the worst team in baseball. The Rangers' offense saved him with six runs in the top of the sixth.
Darvish was able to get through seven innings, throwing an economical 105 pitches. He allowed only three hits. He did have two walks.
He beat Houston for the the second time this season, only this one was a little different than the last.
"He got us through seven innings," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "The only thing he struggled with today was Dominguez."
Not every night can be close to perfect.