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Yu tosses flawless inning in AL's All-Star win

Darvish on mound in Jeter's swan song; Beltre walks in lone trip to plate

MINNEAPOLIS -- Yu Darvish is making a habit of All-Star Games.

The Rangers right-hander came over from his native Japan three years ago.

He was in his third All-Star Game on Tuesday.

It never gets old, he said.

There was that excitement of being a first-time All-Star in 2012. A year ago he was part of the celebration of the final appearance of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who retired at the end of 2013, and this year he was on the mound for an inning in the farewell to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who is retiring at season's end.

"It was a testament to the kind of player, person he is," Darvish said of the tribute to Jeter. "It was like Rivera last year. Jeter got the ovations from the fans."

Darvish and teammate Adrian Beltre, who finished the game at third base, both got a chance to be a part of the American League's 5-3 victory over the National League at Target Field.

That in itself was enjoyable for the two Rangers, whose team was denied a postseason opportunity for the first time in four seasons last year, and this season has been hit with injuries and in last-place (38-57) in the AL West, 1 1/2 games behind Houston.

The season has worn on Beltre, who walked in his only plate appearance of his fourth All-Star Game.

"It's been tough for the last seven weeks or so," said Beltre, who has seen the Rangers lose 29 of their last 38 games. "We haven't been playing the way we wanted to. It hasn't been fun to watch. It hasn't been fun to be a part of it.

"Obviously, we know that we don't have the team that we expected to have out of Spring Training. But we still have a good-enough team to compete."

Darvish said he looks forward to the season resuming in Toronto this weekend.

"We didn't end the first half very well," he said. "We would like to show what we are capable of. We know our fans expect more than what we have been doing."

For one night, the two Rangers were part of giving the AL fans what they wanted -- a win, and home-field advantage in the World Series for the eventual AL champion.

Darvish pitched a 1-2-3 third inning, striking out Yasiel Puig to open the inning. He followed Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez and Red Sox lefty Jon Lester to the mound.

"I felt very honored with so many great pitchers to be able to pitch in the third," Darvish said through an interpreter.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for Read his blog, Write 'em Cowboy.
Read More: Texas Rangers, Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre