ARLINGTON, Texas — Yu Darvish struck out 10 in seven innings to win his seventh consecutive start at Rangers Ballpark, a 7-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
After giving up two runs in the first four batters, Darvish (10-4) had his fourth double-figure strikeout game while joining teammate Matt Harrison and Tampa Bay left-hander David Price as the American League's only 10-game winners. The Japanese standout is the first major leaguer since 1995 to win his first seven career home starts.
The AL West-leading Rangers went ahead to stay with a four-run fourth. They were up 5-3 after consecutive RBI singles by Yorvit Torrealba and Brandon Snyder – the Nos. 8 and 9 batters in the lineup.
Josh Hamilton later homered for the second night in a row, his leadoff shot in the seventh was his 24th of the season to match Toronto's Jose Bautista for the major league lead. Hamilton has a majors-best 67 RBIs.
Prince Fielder drove in four runs for the Tigers, including a two-run double in the first, when the temperature was 103 degrees. Three innings later, when the temperature was still in triple digits, Fielder hit his 12th homer to make it 3-1.
Drew Smyly (2-3) was activated from the disabled list to start after being out since June 11 with a blister on his left middle finger. The lefty struck out three while allowing six runs and eight hits over 4 2-3 innings.
Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances. Mike Adams escaped trouble in the eighth, when the first two batters reached before deep fly balls by Miguel Cabrera and Delmon Young sandwiched an RBI grounder by Fielder.
The Rangers said, according to Elias, the only other pitcher in the past 50 years to win his first seven career home starts was Carlos Perez for the Montreal Expos – eight in 1995. Kenny Rogers is the only other pitcher to win seven consecutive starts at Rangers Ballpark at any point.
But Darvish had a bit of a rough start, even though Detroit scored three fewer first-inning runs than the previous night.
Austin Jackson drew a leadoff walk, the only walk by Darvish. Then with one out, Darvish threw a 92-mph fastball that struck the left earflap on Miguel Cabrera's helmet.
Cabrera dropped to the ground and was sprawled out in a sitting position when he looked toward the mound. A trainer came out and checked on Cabrera, who appeared a bit dazed as he got up and walked toward first base. He then scored from first on Fielder's drive into the left-center gap.
Ian Kinsler led off the Texas first with his first homer since June 8.
Adrian Beltre had a one-out single in the fourth and scored on Michael Young's triple to left-center. Nelson Cruz followed with an RBI single and then stole second base before sprinting home on the hit by Torrealba. Cruz scored the tiebreaking run when he slid around catcher Alex Avila's swiping tag attempt and a bat to reach out and touch the plate.
Beltre is batting .560 (14 of 25) in a seven-game hitting streak, and .500 (22 of 44) in his past 12 games.
Avila was back in the Tigers lineup after missing the series opener with tendinitis in his left knee. He had a leadoff double in the fifth and scored on Quintin Berry's single.
That was the inning Jackson hit a one-hopper that ricocheted off first baseman Mike Napoli's chest and toward the bag. Napoli chased it down, then made a barehanded grab and backhanded scoop to Darvish covering to get out the speedy Jackson.
Notes: Tigers closer Jose Valverde, who hadn't pitched since June 15 because of a sprained right wrist, pitched a perfect eighth. ... Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is the only other pitcher in the majors with four 10-strikeout games. ... It was Kinsler's third leadoff homer this season, extending his club record to 23. ... During a kiss-cam segment between innings, Rangers president Nolan Ryan and his wife Ruth were shown on the video board with a message wishing them a Happy 45th anniversary. After the Hall of Fame pitcher kissed his wife, a picture of the couple on their wedding day was shown.