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NYY@TEX: Darvish holds Yanks to two hits over 6 1/3

ARLINGTON -- Rest does the body well. In Yu Darvish's case, the right-hander returned to form as the Rangers' ace against the Yankees on Monday in his first start off the disabled list. Darvish pitched 6 1/3 two-hit innings in Texas' 3-0 win over New York at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Darvish lost his bid for a no-hitter when Lyle Overbay blooped an opposite-field single leading off the fifth. Brett Gardner was struck on the right shoulder in the game's first at-bat, but Darvish still faced the minimum until the fifth, forcing Robinson Cano to ground to second for a double play to end the first. To start the game, Darvish attacked the Yankees with four-seam fastballs that proved to be effective.

"I was able to locate my fastball for strikes," Darvish said through an interpreter. "Even early in the count, I was able to throw all of my pitches. I think it went smoothly overall.

"My fastball was running. I wasn't overthrowing. I felt like I was throwing lightly, but my velocity went up."

Darvish hadn't pitched since July 6, when he allowed a season-high five runs in six innings against the Astros. The righty, placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career on July 11 with a right trapezius strain, recorded four strikeouts and allowed two walks in his return, throwing 60 of his 90 pitches for strikes.

"He was just attacking hitters," catcher Geovany Soto said. "His fastball command was the best I've ever seen. It was great to see after a stint on the DL. He was commanding every single pitch in his repertoire."

With Darvish cruising, the Rangers provided plenty of run support against Yankees starter Ivan Nova. Texas, which had been scoreless in the first inning over its previous 10 games, scored a rare run in the first on Adrian Beltre's RBI single. The run was just the 25th first-inning tally for the club, the lowest in the Majors. Texas scratched another run in the sixth on a double by Soto that extended the lead to 2-0.

"Yeah, it feels good," shortstop Elvis Andrus said of the win, which snapped a four-game losing streak. "A lot better than [Sunday]. Darvish really stepped up for us. Our pitchers have been doing that all year. It was just nice to finally score in the first inning."

Rangers manager Ron Washington pulled Darvish after Vernon Wells drew a walk to put runners on first and second with one out in the seventh. Left-hander Robbie Ross entered and forced lefty-swinging slugger Travis Hafner to ground to second for an inning-ending double play.

"[Darvish] was throwing the ball well," Washington said. "You could see he was fresh. Just when he got into the seventh inning, you could also see the heat may have gotten to him a little bit. He quit driving the ball to the catcher, but he was certainly sharp."

Nelson Cruz added to the Rangers' damage with his 23rd home run of the season, a solo shot with two outs in the seventh. Nova took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits in seven innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked three on 112 pitches.

The Rangers' bullpen continued its scoreless-innings stretch with a perfect eighth by Tanner Scheppers and a scoreless ninth by closer Joe Nathan. Nathan's save was his 15th successful conversion in a row and his 31st this season. With 329 career saves, Nathan is now tied for 12th on the all-time list with former Rangers reliever Francisco Cordero.

The spotless relief bumped the bullpen's streak to 22 1/3 scoreless innings. Texas relievers haven't allowed a run since July 11 against the O's, and they matched a team record by allowing just one run in the last 12 games.

"We can do some combinations and give some guys some breaks," Washington said of his relievers. "We don't have to wear them out. I feel like if we get on the other side of the sixth inning, then we have a good chance every night."

The win ended the Rangers' seven-game home losing streak against American League East teams. Texas has now thrown 20 consecutive scoreless innings against the Yankees, dating to June 26. The club has allowed just five hits, three walks and a hit batsman in that stretch.

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