Darvish came within one out of pitching the second perfect game in Rangers history, giving up a single to No. 9 hitter Marwin Gonzalez. But he was going to be the last batter Darvish would face even if Gonzalez had reached base and the no-hitter was intact.
"Yes, I would have taken him out," Washington said. "You heard me correctly."
After the game, Washington was emphatic, and even clarified his thought process when pressed on the subject. Had Darvish walked Gonzalez, he wouldn't have pitched to Altuve to try and complete the no-hitter.
"I wasn't going to let him throw 130 pitches," Washington said. "As soon as he gave up a hit he was gone. As soon as he gave up a walk he was gone."
Darvish finished with 111 pitches, throwing four in the ninth inning. The most he had thrown in a spring start were 78.
Gonzalez's single came on the first pitch. Had Darvish walked him, that would have put Yu closer to 114 pitches or more. That wasn't a threshold Washington was prepared to go past in Darvish's first start of the season.
"Early in the season there is [caution]," Washington said. "When you're throwing a perfect game, you try to get through it. He got two quick outs. I felt like if he had walked that guy, if the guy had gotten a base hit, he was gone. He got the base hit. I would have gotten darts in my back if I had walked out there after a walk."
In the fourth inning, Darvish he threw 18 pitches. Overall, he was very efficient, throwing 52 pitches in the final five innings.
"He never wavered after he got out of the sixth inning," Washington said. "I was coming up to him after every inning, and he said, 'OK, Skip, I feel good.'"