The Norman Transcript

National Sports

September 30, 2013

Still alive: Rangers force Wild Cardtiebreaker

(Continued)

ARLINGTON, Texas —

Darvish struck out eight in 5 2-3 innings. But for the sixth time this season, and second game in a row, Darvish immediately gave up the lead a half-inning after the Rangers went ahead.

The right-hander from Japan finished with a majors-leading 277 strikeouts, the most since Randy Johnson had 290 for Arizona in 2004. The last AL pitcher with more was Pedro Martinez with 284 for Boston in 2000.

Darvish had retired 11 in a row after a one-out walk in the second, and a mound visit from Washington, pitching coach Mike Maddux, a trainer and Darvish’s interpreter to check on him.

A.J. Pierzynski had a leadoff double in the fifth and Soto walked before an errant pickoff throw by Jason Vargas (9-8) moved both of them up a base. They scored on the single up the middle by Gentry, the No. 8 hitter who is 17 for 36 his last 10 games.

There was a reverse double play in the Angels sixth — J.B. Shuck hit a grounder to second baseman Ian Kinsler, who ran back Andrew Romine before throwing to first baseman Mitch Moreland, who had to make a quick throw to shortstop Elvis Andrus to tag out Romine. But Darvish then gave up a single to Erick Aybar and walked Trout on four pitches.

Cotts, the left-hander whose 1.13 ERA is the lowest ever for a Texas reliever, gave up an tying RBI single to Josh Hamilton, who finished with a 14-game hitting streak — his longest in his Angels debut after the previous five years with the Rangers.

“It is disappointing,” Hamilton said. “They had something to play for, and we wanted to try to help them stumble.”

NOTES: Beltre had a two-out single and scored on Soto’s go-ahead hit in the sixth. ... Gentry singled and scored in the seventh.... Trout’s 27th homer was his 190th hit, making the 22-year-old only the third major leaguer since 1900 with 190 hits, 100 walks and 30 stolen bases in the same season. The others are Ty Cobb in 1915 and Lenny Dykstra in 1993.

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