video thumbnail

Darvish pitches 5 2/3 innings in MLB debut

It might not be Yu Darvish's first Major League start, but that doesn't mean the Japanese pitcher won't be exciting to watch Saturday at Target Field.

Darvish's highly anticipated debut got off to a rocky start, as the Rangers right-hander gave up four first-inning runs. After settling down and allowing only one more the rest of the way -- tossing 5 2/3 innings to earn his first Major League win -- Darvish now is ready for start No. 2.

"The only thing he needs to do different is throw strikes early," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Darvish, who walked four in his debut. "That's it. I think he'll take care of that part. Eliminate all those free passes early and he'll be fine."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he's impressed with the video he's seen of Darvish.

"Got all the pitches, very athletic, great stuff, great changeup," Gardenhire said. "I saw his changeup just falling off the table. They said he was a little excited in his first start, and we know this guy's a very good pitcher."

The three-game series also marks the return of Rangers closer Joe Nathan to Minnesota, where he pitched from 2004-11 and is the Twins' all-time saves leader. Alexi Ogando closed Friday night, but Nathan could face his former team later in what he admitted already is a bit of an odd trip.

"Definitely felt weird walking into the stadium. Felt like I was walking in the wrong doors," Nathan said prior to Friday's game. "It's part of the game. It's not my first time switching teams. But after being with this club, Minnesota, for so long, to come over here for the first time was awkward for sure."

Rangers: Another record for Young
With his sixth-inning single Friday, infielder Michael Young put his name atop yet another Rangers' all-time list, passing Juan Gonzalez for most total bases in club history. Young already holds the Texas career marks for games, at-bats, runs, hits, singles, doubles, triples, multi-hit games and strikeouts and, with 64 sacrifice flies, is two shy of Ruben Sierra's team mark.

• Washington said Mike Napoli will start behind the plate Saturday and catch Darvish for a second time.

Twins: Blackburn on the hill
Right-hander Nick Blackburn starts for Minnesota on Saturday coming off a loss against the Angels in which two failed double plays extended both run-scoring innings. Blackburn will need all the help he can get from his defense Saturday, as the Rangers are hitting .392 against him with Josh Hamilton (.571, 8-for-14) and Ian Kinsler and Young (two home runs apiece) leading the way.

• Josh Willingham has hit safely in all seven games this season.

Worth noting
• Texas is 2-9 in two-plus seasons at Target Field.

• Joe Mauer needs three hits to tie Michael Cuddyer (now with the Rockies) for 10th on the Twins' all-time list. Comments