TEXAS RANGERS ace Yu Darvish pumped his fist coming off the mound after the last of his 127 pitches, ending the seventh inning with his 14th strikeout against visiting Boston.
"Unbelievable, unbelievable," Adrian Beltre said. "He was incredible. He's been doing it all year."
Darvish matched his career high for strikeouts before leaving a tie game, and Beltre had an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning as the Rangers won, 4-3, yesterday, completing a three-game sweep and matching the Red Sox for the best record in the majors.
Beltre reached down and out over the plate to line a hit to right-center off Clayton Mortensen (0-2). That sent home Elvis Andrus, who had reached on a two-out bloop single and moved up on a wild pitch before the Red Sox opted to intentionally walk Lance Berkman and bring Beltre to the plate.
"We showed a lot of heart right there," Andrus said. "That shows for us how good we are right now."
The Rangers, Red Sox and St. Louis all have 20-11 marks. Boston has its first three-game losing streak this season.
While Darvish had 14 strikeouts for the second time this season, the righthander from Japan allowed multiple homers in a game for only the second time in his 36 starts for the Rangers. David Ortiz and David Ross homered in the first two innings.
"After I gave up those runs, I told myself I was only a couple of runs behind. I was trying to stay focused and not dwell on what had happened," Darvish said through his translator.
Rangers closer Joe Nathan (1-0), the third reliever, worked around a walk and a hit in the ninth.
The game was 3-3 when Darvish threw the last of 78 strikes among a career-high pitches thrown, denying him a chance at his sixth victory to equal the most in the majors. He did up his majors-best strikeout total to 72, and was still throwing in the mid-90s before punctuating his exit with consecutive strikeouts with a runner on base.
Darvish was already at 105 pitches after striking out Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz and Mike Napoli in order in the sixth inning. But there was still nobody warming up in the Texas bullpen at that point.
"He'll get pushed, today was one of those days," manager Ron Washington said. "He gave us 120-something pitches, because we needed it out of him, and he was able to give it to us . . . You had two of the best pitchers in the game out there. I don't know what Darvish would have done to me if I would have taken him out of the game."
In AL games *
At New York, Josh Donaldson hit Oakland's third home run of the game, a tiebreaking drive off Boone Logan (2-2) in the eighth inning that lifted the Athletics over the Yankees, 5-4.
* At Cleveland, Mike Pelfrey (3-3) pitched six effective innings, Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run homer and the Minnesota Twins won, 4-2, to stop the Indians' six-game winning streak.
* At Toronto, Mark DeRosa hit a three-run homer, Melky Cabrera added a solo shot and the Blue Jays snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Seattle Mariners, 10-2.
* At Kansas City, Alex Gordon hit an RBI single with two outs in the 10th inning and the Royals rallied past the Chicago White Sox, 6-5. Billy Butler's two-out, two-run double in the ninth tied it for Kansas City.
* At Anaheim, J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado each hit a two-run homer off Jerome Williams in his first start of the season, leading the Baltimore Orioles to an 8-4 victory over the reeling Los Angeles Angels. Mike Trout homered for the Angels, whose 11-20 start matched the worst in franchise history.
* At Houston, Justin Verlander (4-2) allowed two hits and struck out nine and Prince Fielder racked up four RBI as the Detroit Tigers blanked the Astros, 9-0.
In NL games *
At Atlanta, Freddie Freeman homered and drove in three runs, Tim Hudson (4-1) pitched into the eighth inning and the Braves beat the New York Mets, 9-4.
* At Pittsburgh, Tyler Moore hit a three-run homer and Danny Espinosa homered and drove in three runs, leading the Washington Nationals over the Pirates, 6-2.
* At Milwaukee, Jaime Garcia (4-1) pitched eight innings and Allen Craig drove in four runs to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 10-1 win and the franchise's first four-game sweep of the Brewers. Matt Holliday also homered for the Cardinals, who have won six straight.
* At Chicago, Joey Votto had three hits, Todd Frazier hit a two-run single and the Cincinnati Reds completed a three-game sweep of the Cubs with a 7-4 victory.
* At San Diego, rookie Jedd Gyorko hit a two-run homer with two outs in the sixth and Will Venable followed with a solo shot to help carry Edinson Volquez (3-3) and the Padres to a 5-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
* At San Francisco, Hunter Pence hit two doubles and drove in four runs as the Giants held off the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-3.
In interleague *
At Denver, Alex Cobb (4-2) pitched effectively into the seventh inning, withstanding three solo homers by Colorado and helping the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Rockies, 8-3.