Darvish wavers without 'rhythm and tempo'

Rangers ace takes first career loss at home to Mariners

Darvish wavers without 'rhythm and tempo'

ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish started Sunday afternoon by missing badly with his first two pitches. He stepped off the mound to try and gather himself, but that proved to be difficult.

Darvish did not have his best stuff on a hot afternoon, and he also struggled to find his pace and rhythm. That proved to be an elusive search as he allowed five runs in five innings in a 7-3 loss to the Mariners at Globe Life Park.

Darvish allowed four runs in the first inning, and the Rangers spent the rest of the three-hour, 43-minute game in a futile effort to catch up.

"In the first inning, I had bad rhythm and was taking more time between pitches," Darvish said. "The next time, I'm going to go out there with better rhythm and tempo."

Manager Jeff Banister noticed it, too, during his brief time in the Rangers' dugout before getting ejected in the second inning.

"It didn't seem like the rhythm was very good to start the game," Banister said. "Yu was trying to find the right pace and rhythm, and a lot of thought process was going on with the mix of pitches. The pace wasn't good."

The game-time temperature was 92 degrees, but Darvish hasn't let the heat bother him in the past. He was 5-2 with a 2.85 ERA in 12 career day starts at home with the Rangers.

"Like physically, I had no problems or anything," Darvish said. "I just didn't have great stuff."

Darvish started the day by giving up a bloop single to Ben Gamel and a walk to Mitch Haniger, although he thought he had a strikeout on a 2-2 pitch that wasn't called. Darvish came back to strike out Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, but then he fell behind 3-0 to Kyle Seager.

Seager came out swinging and drilled a double down into the right-field corner to give the Mariners a lead.

Seager's RBI double

"He's got such good stuff, and the ball moves all over the place against him," Seager said. "You get 3-0, and that's one of the few times you can really, really zone him in. Fortunate for me, I was able to keep it fair and get a hit."

Darvish said he knew there was a good chance Seager would be swinging.

"Swinging at 3-0 is high-risk, but I have to tip my hat to Seager for hitting that pitch," Darvish said. A passed ball brought home a second run, and Danny Valencia followed with a two-run homer to make it 4-0. Seager also had an RBI double off Darvish in the third inning.

Darvish was 5-0 in seven career starts against the Mariners at home before this loss.

"There's been plenty of days when we haven't had much success off him," Seager said. "It's always nice when you're able to get a few runs early. The Valencia homer in the first there was huge for us. You get that big lead, and you can keep the pedal down a little bit and you're not scrambling and are a little more confident."

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.