OAKLAND -- Yu Darvish needed a shutdown inning and instead got a meltdown, turning what had the makings of another gem by a Rangers starting pitcher into a 4-2 loss to the Athletics at the Coliseum on Tuesday night.
Darvish, allowing just one hit, had faced the minimum 15 batters through five innings and the Rangers offense rewarded him with two runs in the top of the sixth.
That's when Darvish needed the shutdown inning. Instead Darvish got away from everything that had been working for him and the Athletics made him pay.
"A shutdown inning at that point is huge," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "You get into another part of the bullpen with nine outs to go and the lead."
Darvish didn't have much of an explanation.
"I didn't feel much different," Darvish said. "The results said it all. I didn't get it done. It was almost like I was breezing through five and then things happened quickly. I don't know what happened."
Up until that point, Darvish had been following the blueprint set forth by A.J. Griffin in a 7-0 victory Monday. Specifically, he was getting ahead with 11 of 15 first-pitch strikes.
Then everything changed when he walked Trevor Plouffe to lead off the sixth.
"The walk early when he had been pounding the strike zone," Banister said. "Anytime you give up a leadoff walk, those can be challenging. I don't like to say he lost aggressiveness; he lost the feel for the baseball."
Bruce Maxwell hit a liner to left and Jurickson Profar made a nice catch running in for the first out. But Darvish then fell behind Rosales 3-1 in the count and left a cut fastball over the plate. Rosales hit it out to left to tie the game.
"His velocity might have been down a little bit, and he just started missing over the plate a tick," Rosales said. "We became more patient, we knew we had to. I feel like that's what our team usually does. We usually grind out at-bats. You gotta get his pitch count up and get to their bullpen."
Darvish couldn't stop the bleeding. Jaff Decker followed with a double to left and Yonder Alonso drew a walk. At that point, Banister decided to make a change.
"You would love for your No. 1 guy to have the opportunity to work through those situations," Banister said. "He was at 26 pitches and the look of it didn't present itself to continue."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.