Yu know? Rangers struggle in Darvish starts

Club has dropped nine of last 10 with right-hander on mound

Yu know? Rangers struggle in Darvish starts

KANSAS CITY -- The Rangers continued their recent trend of finding ways to lose when Yu Darvish is on the mound. On Sunday, a bloop single, a walk, a hit batter and a fly ball lost in the sun led to the winning run in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Royals.

This one ended when right fielder Shin-Soo Choo dropped Lorenzo Cain's two-out fly ball with the bases loaded in the ninth. The Rangers have now lost nine of their last 10 with Darvish on the mound.

"Yeah that's a tough loss in that situation," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Tough skies with a tough sun. You could see Choo was battling all the way. It one of those plays, if it gets made, everybody is happy on our side. We just didn't complete the play."

Darvish wasn't on the mound in the ninth. This loss went to veteran reliever Jason Grilli in his third appearance for the Rangers.

"We battled, the whole team did," Grilli said. "That's baseball. As a reliever, you live and die by the sword. I felt I had good stuff, but anything and everything happened."

Grilli started the inning by giving up a bloop single to Alcides Escobar and then walked Alex Gordon on four pitches. Salvador Perez, pinch-hitting for Drew Butera, followed with a sharp grounder to the left side, but third baseman Drew Robinson made a diving stop. He fumbled the ball coming out of his glove, but Escobar had stopped to avoid a tag and was easily forced out at third.

Grilli then hit Whit Merrifield with an 0-2 pitch, but he came back to strike out Jorge Bonifacio. That brought up Cain, who hit what looked like a routine fly ball.

Cain's fortunate walk-off single

"When I hit it, I was thinking it was [an] out," Cain said.

But it was hardly routine on a late Sunday afternoon with the sun shining down on right field.

"I saw the ball at the very beginning," Choo said. "But the ball faded toward the right-field line, and after that I didn't see it. When the ball faded, I lost it. I was guessing. I put my glove up there. If I had made the play, it would have been very lucky. It was tough."

Choo got his glove on the ball, but he couldn't hold it. It was ruled a single because of the sun. The last time the Rangers won a game that Darvish started was on June 12 at Yankee Stadium. He is 1-6 with a 4.09 ERA in his last 10 starts.

"It is what it is," Darvish said. "The first three innings today were a struggle, but toward the end, I was feeling better and throwing the ball well."

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.