Yu Darvish didn't quite dominate like he did in Japan -- but he also didn't have the likes of Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton and Mitch Moreland providing him run support with the Nippon Ham Fighters. Darvish needed 42 pitches to get through his first big-league inning on Monday, allowing four runs in the opening frame, but he was backed by Texas' potent lineup which allowed him pick up a victory, as Texas beat Seattle 11-5.
Darvish gave up five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3. He walked four and struck out five Mariners in his debut. Darvish had thrown 98 pitches after five innings, but still went back out for the sixth inning and threw a total of 110 before exiting.
"Just like you saw tonight, those guys are incredible. Just incredible," Darvish told reporters after the game (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). "Today was more of a mental battle for me. I had to stay in there and battle with what I had. I thought whatever I had, if I could string those zeroes together, the offense would come back."
Darvish wasn't alone in struggling at Rangers Ballpark on Monday, as Hector Noesi -- part of the Michael Pineda trade this offseason -- needed 32 pitches to get out of the first, allowing two runs himself. He lasted just three innings, giving up seven runs.
Darvish gave up another run on two doubles in the second inning, but then settled down. After hitting Brendan Ryan in the third inning, Darvish retired the next 10 batters he faced before walking Dustin Ackley in the sixth and then giving up a single to Ichiro Suzuki.
The Mariners' two Japanese players, Ichiro and second baseman Munenori Kawasaki finished 4-6 against Darvish, with Ichiro pounding out three hits, including a double in the second.
Darvish struggled in the first, with his first five pitches going for balls. After striking out Dustin Ackley, Ichiro, Justin Smoak and Kyle Seager hit consecutive singles, with two runs scoring on Seager's liner to center. He then walked Michael Saunders and gave up an RBI single to Miguel Olivo. He then walked Kawasaki, who was 3 for 27 last season against Darvish, on four pitches. He finished the inning by striking out Ryan and getting Figgins to ground out.
Cruz tied the game at 5 with a three-run homer in the third and Moreland's two-run homer put Darvish in position to pick up the victory.