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Darvish flirts with no-hitter as Rangers romp

(The Sports Xchange) - Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish was first denied a perfect game by an error and then came within one out of throwing the first no-hitter of the season as the Texas Rangers beat the Boston Red Sox 8-0 at home on Friday. Despite the comfortable victory, 27-year-old Darvish, who joined Texas from the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2012, will be having flashbacks of facing Boston's David Ortiz for a while. Ortiz ended Darvish's perfect game bid in the seventh inning with a fly ball that resulted in an error. Later, the same batter poked the Red Sox' first hit through the right side of the infield with two outs in the ninth. The late drama meant that for the second straight season, the right-hander lost a no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth, after coming within one out of a perfect game against the Houston Astros last April. Texas manager Ron Washington said it might have been Darvish's best performance in a Ranger uniform, including the other near-misses at no-hitters. "I think that's the best stuff I've seen him have since he's been here really, even the other opportunities he had to throw a no-hitter," Washington told reporters. "His stuff tonight was real good. Zip on his four seamer, nice cutter, slider. He did one heck of a job out there tonight against a very good offensive club." But the talk in the Texas clubhouse centered on the one that got away.

After Darvish retired the first 20 Red Sox batters in order, he appeared to be headed to the eighth inning with a perfect game intact.

RIOS ERROR

Ortiz, the designated hitter, then hit a routine fly ball to right field, sending Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor, playing in his second MLB game, deep into the outfield.

Odor lunged to make a catch in front of Alex Rios but the ball fell to the turf and was scored an error on the right fielder.

"He was doing a great job out there and it just happened," Rios said. "I'm not glad that it happened. I feel terrible but it's part of the game."

Odor said the noise in the stadium caused him not to be able to hear Rios behind him. But he took the blame for the error despite making an effort to get in position.

"Of course I'm not happy, but it's what happened," Odor said. "I made the effort that I could."

Darvish then walked first baseman Mike Napoli before getting left fielder Grady Sizemore to fly out to Rios to end the inning.

Darvish gave up another walk in the eighth, this one to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, but he made it through the frame with his no-hitter intact after striking out Jackie Bradley Jr to end the inning.

The Texas pitcher then retired second baseman Dustin Pedroia and right fielder Shane Victorino to start the ninth before Ortiz came through with a hit.

Washington pulled Darvish after Ortiz's hit in the ninth. Darvish struck out 12 and had thrown 126 pitches when he exited, improving to 3-1 this season.

Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando recorded the final out.

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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