ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Yu Darvish wasn’t nearly as sharp as he usually is, and the Los Angeles Angels capitalized on a few of his mistakes.
C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun homered in the fourth inning against the ace right-hander, and the Texas Rangers were shut down by rookie Matt Shoemaker in a 5-2 loss on Sunday.
Darvish (7-4) allowed five runs and five hits through six innings, striking out nine and issuing four walks – three of them to No. 7 hitter Hank Conger.
“My command was off,” Darvish said through a translator. “It was just the fastball. With sliders, I was able to throw good ones in key situations. In my last start, my mechanics were off and I wasn’t able to make the adjustment between starts. But it’s not only the mechanics. I think I have to talk to (catcher Chris) Gimenez and be on the same page with him.”
Darvish was 7-1 with a 3.82 ERA in 11 starts against the Halos, including six straight victories.
“We might have found a little something in his mechanics that he might be able to work out, and get a little more action on his pitches,” Gimenez said. “It might be an easy fix. We’ll take a look at it in his next bullpen.”
The injury-decimated Rangers remain a season-worst 11 1/2 games behind Oakland after losing for the fifth straight time and 10th time in their last 14.
“I’m not looking at standings right now. What we’re trying to do is get better and win some ballgames,” manager Ron Washington said. “The name of the game is scoring runs, and we’re not scoring. When we start producing runs, we’ll be fine.”
Calhoun was credited with the first run of the game on a replay reversal in the first inning that led to Washington’s second ejection of the season.
The play began when Leonys Martin charged Albert Pujols’ hit-and-run single to center field, and then missed the cutoff man as the ball sailed into foul territory between third base and home.
Darvish alertly backed up the play and threw to Gimenez for the tag on Calhoun, who tried to score all the way from first. But Gimenez took the throw while standing in front of the dish, leaving Calhoun no clear path. And according to the new rules instituted this season by Major League Baseball to cut down on collisions, that was a violation.
So when Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out to challenge umpire Bill Miller’s original ruling, the replay was checked and Calhoun was declared safe. Gimenez was charged with an error.
“I honestly, really don’t know what I’m supposed to do on that play. It was just a reaction play,” Gimenez said. “The ball took Darvish over there, and I kind of went over there. It was a situation where there wasn’t any intent to block the plate.”
Washington, who lost Alex Rios and Michael Choice to ejections in Saturday night’s extra-inning loss for arguing balls and strikes with umpire Vic Carapazza, came out of the dugout yelling at Miller – who motioned to him that he wasn’t allowed to argue a replay reversal. But the argument continued, and Washington was tossed.
“What got me thrown out was the call that was made out of New York,” Washington said. “You’re not supposed to come out and question that, but you can’t stop instincts of the game from happening. And to me, that was an instinctive play. There were no intentions of blocking the plate. The ball took him there.”
Shoemaker (5-1) allowed a run and eight hits in 7 2-3 innings with six strikeouts and two walks. The only run against the 27-year-old right-hander came in the sixth, when his attempted pickoff throw to first hit Elvis Andrus and rolled away from Cron, allowing Martin to score.
“I’m not going to take anything away from that kid. He shut us down, so you’ve got to give him credit,” Washington said. “He had a good breaking ball working, he threw strikes and kept us off the board.”
Joe Smith allowed Brad Snyder’s two-out homer in the ninth before Gimenez grounded out to end the game. Snyder entered in the fourth after first baseman Donnie Murphy left because of soreness in his left knee.
NOTES: Darvish has allowed just three first-inning runs in his 14 starts this season. The other two also were by the Angels, on home runs by Aybar and Pujols on May 4 at the “Big A” in his 14-3 victory. … Rangers closer Joakim Soria hasn’t pitched since his last save on June 14. There’s nothing physically wrong with him. It’s just that the Rangers have lost six of seven since then, and the lone victory was by a 14-8 score.