Darvish hits 130-pitch mark in win

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The pitching duel that wasn't Thursday night between Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander ended up being more about pitch counts.

The 130 pitches that Darvish pitched in the Texas Rangers' 10-4 pounding of Verlander and the Detroit Tigers was a big topic in postgame interviews.

And Rangers general manager Jon Daniels met with manager Ron Washington after Thursday's game to discuss Darvish's pitch count.

Darvish stood at 115 pitches and the Rangers leading comfortably, 10-4, as the top of the eighth came up. It seemed to be the right time for a handshake, slap on the back, and to say thanks for the seven innings.

Not so fast, said Washington, who had enough respect for a Tigers lineup that sent up Triple Crown man Miguel Cabrera, left-handed slugger Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez in the inning.

Plus, setup man Tanner Scheppers wasn't available after finishing off Wednesday's 6-2 victory in Oakland, and Washington preferred Darvish to left-hander Robbie Ross, who has walked batters in two of his three appearances.

"I saw the big lead; the lineup they got, it's not soft anywhere in it," Washington said. "Even though we had the lead, I wasn't comfortable. I felt like he needed to get us through the eighth inning to give our bullpen a break, and he certainly did that."

Washington reasoned that after Darvish's 36-pitch third inning that put him at 63 pitches for the night, he was more economical. Darvish went 17, 11, 13 and 11 pitches the next four innings. He had 15 more to go.

Darvish, who threw 127 pitches two starts ago against Boston, said he wanted to keep going when Washington came up to him after the seventh inning and asked for another inning.

"Wash asked if I could go longer and he seemed like he wanted me to go longer," Darvish said. "I felt good. And I wanted to help the bullpen."

Darvish caught a break for the first out of the inning when a smash to third base by Cabrera glanced off Adrian Beltre's glove, directly in front of shortstop Elvis Andrus, who was able to grab the ball bare-handed and nip the Tigers' third baseman for the first out.

Darvish needed six pitches to strike out Fielder. Martinez fouled off four pitches before he popped out to third base on pitch No. 130 to end the inning.

Darvish reached his major league high for pitches Thursday. He has thrown 362 pitches in 12 days, an average of 120.7 pitches per start.

Washington and Darvish were both asked after the game if too much is made of pitch counts. The manager said the game and the circumstances dictate things.

"As far as pitch count goes, I think certain nights dictate when you allow a guy to stay out there," Washington said. "He stayed out there against Boston because it dictated it, and tonight it dictated it. We had an 8-4 lead, I wasn't comfortable. And until we got the 27th out, I wasn't comfortable."

Darvish said in his postgame news conference that pitch counts aren't a huge talking point in Japan.

In 2011, his last season pitching there, Darvish went over the 130-pitch mark seven times in 28 starts. His highest total was 145 pitches. He had back-to-back outings of 136 and 136 pitches and 131 and 131 pitches during the 2011 season.

Is it a big deal?

"Not really," Darvish said. "I averaged 120 pitches per outing (in Japan). After the 100th pitch tonight I was fired up and I had a lot of gasoline left."

Washington felt comfortable with his decision.

"Yu Darvish, in my opinion, is a stud," Washington said, "And I don’t think we overworked him tonight."