ARLINGTON, TEXAS – Yu Darvish’s first big league season ended on Friday, when the Texas Rangers lost the American League Wild-Card game 5-1 to the Baltimore Orioles.
Darvish allowed three runs, two earned, in 6⅔ innings to take the loss.
“It’s over so quickly,” said Darvish, who went 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA during the regular season. “It’s said that a season is like running a marathon. It feels like we just started and we’ve stopped. It doesn’t feel like it’s done.”
After both teams traded runs in the first, the Orioles took the lead in the sixth when back-to-back singles put runners on the corners and Adam Jones delivered a sacrifice fly. Darvish allowed a leadoff single in the seventh. He left with two outs and a runner on second, but reliever Derek Holland uncorked a wild pitch and surrendered an RBI single to Nate McLouth.
“Overall, my command was good,” Darvish said. “From a personal standpoint, I kept us in the game and pitched well, but winning is really all that matters.”
Koji Uehara kept the Rangers within two runs with three swinging strikeouts against his former teammates in the eighth, but closer Joe Nathan surrendered two more runs in the top of the ninth to make it 5-1 Baltimore.
“It’s too bad we couldn’t win, but I pitched 100 percent of my own style out there,” said Uehara, who was traded to Texas last year from Baltimore.
The Orioles advanced to play the East champion Yankees, the AL’s top seed. The teams split 18 games this season.
The upstart Orioles spent the whole second half chasing the Yankees, never passing them and falling just short in a neck-and-neck race for the division title.
Turns out, the Yankees haven’t brushed off these Birds just yet.
“Real proud of everybody. Tacking on runs were big, knew they were going to run at you,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “But just a real proud moment for us.”
Ichiro ready to rumble
Ichiro Suzuki has spent a decade of Octobers watching the baseball playoffs, shouting at his TV like so many fans.
Celebrating an AL East championship Thursday night with his new teammates, he noticed life is different now that he’s with the New York Yankees.
“Usually that would be the end of my season,” Suzuki said Friday night before a workout at Yankee Stadium. “What I’ve realized is here, for the Yankees, is that it’s the starting point.”
Acquired from the Seattle Mariners in late July, Suzuki helped spur the Yankees to their 13th division title in 17 years with a special September. On Sunday, he most likely will be playing in the outfield for Game 1 of the division series against the Baltimore Orioles.
The 10-time All-Star came to New York hitting a career-low .261 and with a reputation for being a malcontent in the Seattle clubhouse. He dismissed all that immediately, impressing the Yankees with his knowledge of English, sense of humor and a remarkable stretch at the plate.
He helped carry the Yankees through a thrilling September run — hitting .385 (35-for-91) with 11 RBIs for the month — and New York won the division on the last day of the regular season.
He’s fun,” Derek Jeter said last week. “In order to do what he has for that many years, you have to have fun.”