ARLINGTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish had the strikeouts going, and the Texas Rangers have a four-game winning streak. That after Darvish punched out 14 batters in a 7-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in a makeup game on Thursday night at Rangers Ballpark.
The Rangers head to Oakland for a three-game weekend series just 3½ games behind the first-place Oakland A's after being six back entering Tuesday.
Yu the man: Darvish had his fourth 14-strikeout game of the season and first one since May 27 when he struck out the same amount of Diamondbacks in what turned out to be a 5-4 loss for the Rangers. Darvish lost a two-run lead to the Diamondbacks in the bottom of the eighth in that game. He took it out on Arizona hitters on Thursday. Darvish struck out the side in the first two innings. He had two strikeouts in the next four innings to get him to 14. Darvish finally went an inning without a punchout in the seventh, but worked around two singles with a fly ball to left field and a popup to shortstop.
Low hit game: Darvish allowed five hits in seven innings, the 12th time in 22 starts he has allowed five hits or fewer this season. All five hits allowed by Darvish were singles.
MLB strikeout leader: Darvish has 186 strikeouts to lead the major leagues. He has four games with 14 strikeouts this season. All other big league pitchers have two -- Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox and Anibal Sanchez of the Detroit Tigers.
More on 14 Ks: Darvish set the Rangers' franchise record for 14-plus strikeout games. Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan had three of them in 1990.
AJP strikes first: A.J. Pierzynski gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with a home run to center field. It was his 12th home run of the season. Of Pierzynski's 12 home runs, 10 have tied the game or given Texas the lead. Pierzynski's homer traveled 421 feet, his second longest of the season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Pierzynski also had a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the seventh to give him 40 RBIs for the season.
Moreland goes deep: Mitch Moreland gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead with a leadoff home run to open the bottom of the third. The home run to left field went 377 feet. Moreland has five hits since the All-Star break and two of them are home runs.
Murphy, Martin break it open: Struggling outfielder David Murphy ingnited a three-run fourth inning for the Rangers, belting a two-out home run to right field. It was the longest home run of the night at 426 feet. Murphy finished with a three-hit game. After Jurickson Profar singled and Moreland was hit by a pitch, Leonys Martin ripped a two-run double for a 5-0 lead. Martin made an out at third base when he over-slid the bag trying for a triple.
Profar gets a start: Profar got his first start since July 25 and went 1-for-4. He scored a run in the fourth inning after a two-out single to right field.
Up next: The Rangers hit the road for 10 games with the first three coming this weekend against AL West leader Oakland. Texas right-hander Alexi Ogando (4-3, 3.05 ERA) goes up against A's left-hander Tommy Milone (9-8, 4.03) at 9:07 p.m. on Ch. 21. On Saturday afternoon, Rangers right-hander Matt Garza (7-1, 2.95) takes on A's right-hander Jarrod Parker (6-6, 4.07) at 3:05 p.m. on FOX. On Sunday afternoon, left-hander Derek Holland (8-6, 3.18) will face right-hander A.J. Griffin (10-7, 3.90) on Fox Sports Southwest. All games will be broadcast on radio on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.