ARLINGTON, Texas —
Darvish threw 77 of 117 pitches for strikes on a sunny afternoon when the game-time temperature was 90 degrees— 10 degrees cooler than at the start of Friday night’s series opener. While increasing his majors-best strikeout total to 151, he walked four and scattered four hits with only one 1-2-3 inning.
There was an 11-pitch at-bat in the first inning against Brandon Phillips, who didn’t get a breaking ball while at the plate. The first ball didn’t come until the ninth pitch, and he eventually struck out to end the inning.
That set a tone for what Darvish was trying to do.
“I just wanted to shut all the people up that were talking about my fastballs,” Darvish said.
“I love when he throws more fastballs,” shortstop Andrus said. “I think that he gets a little tougher. That’s when his slider works way better too. He did a great job of keeping us in the game. ... When you’ve got your ace out there, you always want to win and score some runs early so he can feel better.”
Joe Nathan, the fifth Texas reliever, pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 28 chances.
Latos, 21-6 in his 50 career starts for the Reds, struck out nine and walked two in 6 2-3 innings. He gave up three runs, two of them earned.
Beltre led off the fifth by dragging a bunt past the mound for a hit before Martin’s hustling double.
Martin extended his hitting streak to 14 games, matching the longest by a Rangers player this season, on the hit to right-center when he slid inside of second base and reached back to grab it while avoiding the tag.
When sliding into home, Beltre couldn’t steer clear of the ball that ricocheted off his head, nor could he avoid the hard collision with catcher Devin Mesoraco trying to block the plate.