ARLINGTON -- Yu Darvish struck out seven and allowed one run through five innings in his first start back from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, and Adrian Beltre passed the 1,500-RBI mark, as the Rangers beat the Pirates, 5-2, Saturday night at Globe Life Park.
"I was very calm. ... I felt fine," Darvish said. "I saw that my fastball was going very well. They weren't on time with my fastball, and it made my other pitches better."
Darvish, making his first start since Aug. 9, 2014, threw 81 pitches and allowed just three hits, picking up the win. He was clocked as high as 98 mph, and is 4-0 in four season-opening starts in his Major League career. Home runs from Beltre and Mitch Moreland backed the right-hander in his 2016 debut.
"Everybody was excited to get Yu back, and he looked outstanding out there," Beltre said. "Just to go out there and get him some runs so he can work the way he normally does. It was nice."
The Pirates saw their five-game winning streak come to an end. Starter Juan Nicasio allowed four runs on seven hits through 4 2/3 innings. Cole Figueroa drove in a run with an RBI single in the fifth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Beltre surpasses 1,500 RBIs: Beltre's two-run homer off Nicasio in the first inning -- Beltre's ninth homer of the season -- put him at 1,501 career RBIs. He's just the 54th player in MLB history to hit that mark and is just the fourth primary third baseman. The other three third baseman with at least 1,500 RBIs are Mike Schmidt (1,595), George Brett (1,596) and Chipper Jones (1,623) The home run came off a 95-mph fastball from Nicasio in a nine-pitch at-bat, and just cleared the wall in straightaway center. It was Beltre's second homer in as many nights.
"Huge accomplishment," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He is a great player and he has been a great player for a long time. It's incredible."
Nicasio nicked early: After pitching only one inning in his last start, which was eventually postponed due to rain, Nicasio wasn't sharp early Saturday. He allowed an infield single to leadoff hitter Jurickson Profar to start the game, a double to Ian Desmond, an RBI groundout to Prince Fielder and Beltre's two-run shot to fall behind, 3-0, after recording just one out. Nicasio settled down, yielding only one more run in 4 2/3 innings, but the first-inning struggles were enough to decide the game with Darvish dealing for the Rangers.
"I tried to fight, I tried to go deep in the game," Nicasio said. "I made a couple mistakes, and I paid for that."
Pirates' rally fizzles: Pittsburgh had its last, best chance to get back in the game in the eighth inning, trailing, 5-1, getting back-to-back singles from John Jaso and Andrew McCutchen to start the frame and greet new reliever Matt Bush. But Bush struck out Gregory Polanco, got David Freese to fly out and struck out Starling Marte to get out of trouble.The Pirates left seven men on base in the game and were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
"We knew if they had a lead they had some power to go to," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Bush, it's power. He showed the ability to throw a first-pitch breaking ball, we've seen some of that. … [Based on] one quick look, that's a big arm."
Barnette preserves the lead: Right-hander Tony Barnette entered the game with a 4-1 lead in the sixth to take over for Darvish and immediately found himself in some trouble. He got McCutchen to fly out to left to lead off the inning, but allowed a single to Polanco, and an error by shortstop Elvis Andrus -- his second of the night -- on a ground ball from Freese put runners at first and second. Marte's fielder's choice moved Polanco to third, bringing up Francisco Cervelli. Marte stole second during the at-bat, but Barnette struck out Cervelli swinging on a 3-2, 79-mph curveball in the dirt, holding the lead.
"I've only seen my dad cry once, I have a feeling it might be twice tonight. I'm sure he's fired up, along with everyone else back home." -- The Rangers' Jared Hoying on his family's reaction to his first Major League hit, a single in the fourth.
Pirates: Francisco Liriano will make his seventh start at Globe Life Park on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET. Liriano is 4-1 with a 3.11 ERA in his career in Texas..
Rangers: Martin Perez will take the mound for in the series finale for the Rangers at 2:05 p.m. CT. Perez leads all qualifying Rangers starters with a 3.13 ERA this season. .
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