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Yu tosses 7 scoreless, earns first Coliseum W

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

OAKLAND -- The Rangers have not only wrapped up the American League West during their weekend visit to the Coliseum, but they also had back-to-back outstanding performances from the two starting pitchers who will lead them into the playoffs.

Yu Darvish, emulating what Cole Hamels did on Friday night, threw seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 victory over the A's on Saturday afternoon. Darvish was in complete command, allowing just two singles and a walk while striking out nine.

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OAKLAND -- The Rangers have not only wrapped up the American League West during their weekend visit to the Coliseum, but they also had back-to-back outstanding performances from the two starting pitchers who will lead them into the playoffs.

Yu Darvish, emulating what Cole Hamels did on Friday night, threw seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 victory over the A's on Saturday afternoon. Darvish was in complete command, allowing just two singles and a walk while striking out nine.

Full Game Coverage

"I felt pretty good," Darvish said. "I was able to throw a lot of strikes today. It was a good outing."

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Hamels also threw seven scoreless innings in the division-clinching 3-0 victory on Friday night. The Rangers needed both performances. Hamels was 0-1 with a 10.50 ERA in his four previous starts and Darvish was 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA in his past five.

The A's began the day last in the AL in runs scored, but they had treated both Hamels and Darvish rudely on the last homestand in Arlington. Hamels allowed six runs in six innings against the Athletics on Sept. 16 while Darvish allowed seven runs in five innings the next day.

That's why the Rangers were thrilled to see Hamels and Darvish turn it around in Oakland. They will be first and second for the Rangers in the postseason rotation.

"It's big for them, more than anything else," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Obviously, they haven't been to the level they are used to lately or what they expect. For them to pitch back-to-back games, their confidence level is high. It also gives the club great confidence to have their front-line guys pick it up and are at the top of their game."

This was also Darvish's first career victory in Oakland. He was 0-3 with a 7.59 ERA in his previous four starts there.

"I didn't pitch well last time against Oakland, and I don't have a good record here," Darvish said. "To pitch well against these guys gives me confidence going into the playoffs."

Banister said Darvish had an explosive fastball, while A's manager Bob Melvin said the split-finger fastball was devastating.

"That's as good as we've seen Darvish in a while," Melvin said. "His split is coming back, which was a big weapon for him before. I think he was a little reluctant to throw it when he first got back, but he's throwing it now and he was really good today. Our at-bats got better after he came out of the game."

Darvish will get one more start before the postseason begins, most likely next Saturday against the Rays. 

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.

 

Texas Rangers, Yu Darvish