ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish made a little history on Tuesday when he earned his 50th Major League win in a 5-1 victory over the Phillies at Globe Life Park.Darvish earned the victory in his 109th Major League start/appearance, becoming the fastest Ranger and fastest Japanese pitcher to earn
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish made a little history on Tuesday when he earned his 50th Major League win in a 5-1 victory over the Phillies at Globe Life Park.
Darvish earned the victory in his 109th Major League start/appearance, becoming the fastest Ranger and fastest Japanese pitcher to earn win No. 50 in the Major Leagues, although Darvish didn't appear ready to pop open a champagne bottle.
"It took a little longer than I thought," Darvish said.
The Rangers probably expected Darvish to get there well before this. He is now in his sixth season since signing with the Rangers on Jan. 18, 2012, but they weren't expecting him to miss 14 months in 2014-15 because of Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.
Darvish got to 50 faster than former Rangers pitcher Kevin Brown, who needed 115 games to get there at the beginning of his career in 1989-94. Darvish was also faster than elite Japanese pitchers such as Hideo Nomo, Hiroki Kuroda, Hisashi Iwakuma and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
"It's definitely significant for Yu, especially coming off Tommy John and missing a year and a half," manager Jeff Banister said. "Compile that with what he was able to do in Japan, he is a special pitcher and able to do special things with the baseball."
Darvish earned No. 50 by holding the Phillies to one run on four hits in seven innings. He walked two, struck out nine and is now 3-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his past five starts.
"He's got probably -- arguably -- the best slider in baseball, in my opinion," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "When that's the first time a team sees him, it's got to be tough, especially the way he located it. He just changed speeds, had a good fastball, located that slider. It's a tough pitch to hit, even when you've seen him before. But when a team like us hasn't see him before, it can be tough."
Darvish has been part of an overall surge of Rangers starting pitching of late that started right after they learned Cole Hamels would miss eight weeks with a strained right oblique muscle.
Hamels was scratched from a start on May 2, and since May 4, Rangers starters are 3-2 with a 2.75 ERA in their past 12 starts. The Rangers are 9-3 in that stretch, including their current seven-game winning streak, and the starters have gone at least six innings in 10 of those 12.
"I think we are doing a great job as starters," Darvish said. "As a team, we are playing good baseball. That's why we are winning."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.