That was more than enough to beat the New York Yankees, as the Rangers ended a five-game losing streak with a much needed 3-0 victory.
Darvish had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning, before Lyle Overbay broke it up with a bloop hit. Darvish allowed two hits in 6⅓ sharp innings.
Afterward, Rangers manager Ron Washington said not to panic about the low pitch count.
Wash saw a hot Texas night getting to Darvish in the sixth inning, prompting him to get reliever Robbie Ross up in the bullpen. After two Yankees reached base in the top of the seventh, the manager decided to go to a rested bullpen.
"[Darvish] was throwing the ball well, and you could see he was fresh," Washington said. "Just as we got into that seventh inning, you could also see that the heat may have gotten him a little bit, and he quit driving the ball through the catcher. But he was certainly sharp."
Darvish had been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his back, forcing him to miss pitching in the All-Star Game. The Rangers put him on the DL as a precautionary move, knowing how much they need him to be fresh heading into the final two months of the season.
Darvish hit the first batter he faced, Brett Gardner, then retired 11 straight Yankees before Overbay's single to start the fifth inning.
"I was able to locate my fastball for strikes, so even early in the count I was able to throw all of my pitches," Darvish said through an interpreter. "So I think it went smoothly overall."
Darvish appeared to be upset about getting taken out at 90 pitches. But he insisted after the game that he understood.
“It was a little bit earlier than I thought,” he said, “but I had about 15 days with a break, and I think Wash was thinking about my body and how I felt, so I really appreciated what he’s done."