WASHINGTON (AP) – Yu Darvish struck out 12 over eight innings, Leonys Martin broke open a scoreless duel with a homer in the seventh and the Texas Rangers beat the Washington Nationals 2-0 Sunday to avert a three-game sweep.
The Rangers won despite losing an apparent run in a rare double challenge on the same play. Managers Ron Washington of Texas and Matt Williams lodged separate complaints after a double steal in the first inning.
Pitching for the first time since May 22 after missing his last turn with a stiff neck, Darvish (5-2) gave up five hits and walked two in dropping his ERA to 2.08. The right-hander matched his season high in strikeouts and overpowered a team that amassed 19 runs in the first two games of the series.
Joakim Soria worked a perfect ninth to earn his 11th save and seal Texas’ major league-leading 11th shutout.
Darvish struck out the side in the second and fanned two in each of the next three innings before encountering trouble in the sixth. One-out singles by Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche put runners at first and third before Darvish struck out Wilson Ramos and retired Ian Desmond on a deep fly to right field.