TORONTO (AP) - While everyone was focused on Yu Darvish, Kyle Drabek turned in a top-notch performance. Too bad for the young Toronto right-hander that he still got hung with the loss.
Darvish won his third straight start, Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry homered and the Texas Rangers beat Drabek and the Blue Jays 4-1 Monday night.
It was a hard-luck defeat for Drabek (2-2), his second straight. He gave up two runs and five hits in six innings, walked two and struck out a career-high eight, including five straight during one stretch.
``I was able to command my fastball a lot better than the last two outings,' Drabek said. ``I had my cutter working, that was probably my best pitch for me. Some hard-hit balls, but I'm happy with where my fastball command was at.'
Blue Jays manager John Farrell was full of praise for Drabek's outing.
``He threw the ball exceptionally well,' Farrell said. ``That's an outstanding team and a very strong offense and he kept us in the game into the seventh.'
Still, it wasn't enough to get the better of Darvish, who allowed his first home run but also became the first starter in Rangers history to win four of his first five games. The Japanese righty allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, walked two and struck out nine.
Farrell said Darvish (4-0) was ``outstanding' and ``as good as advertised,' while Rangers skipper Ron Washington called him ``electric.'
``He had good stuff,' Washington said. ``Once again, the most impressive thing about him was when he got people on the bag, he made pitches. That's what good pitchers do.'
Darvish acknowledged it felt strange to face a Blue Jays team that reportedly pursued him when his rights went up for auction last December.
``Honestly, it was kind of an awkward feeling because rumor has it that this was a team that might have posted for me and there was some chance that I might have played for this team,' Darvish said through a translator. ``Facing the Blue Jays, they could have been my teammates.'
In winning his past three starts, Darvish has allowed just two earned runs over 21 2-3 innings against Detroit, the New York Yankees and Toronto. His season ERA is 2.18.
``I don't expect him to go 32-0,' Washington said, ``but the thing about him is he will keep us in ballgames, and that's what we want.'
Mike Adams worked the eighth and Joe Nathan finished for his sixth save in seven chances.
AL West-leading Texas won for the 17th time in April, matching the 1989 team for the second-most victories in the season's opening month. The Rangers won a record 18 April games in 1998.
Texas slugger Josh Hamilton was held out of the lineup with a sore back. Hamilton, who leads the AL with nine home runs and 25 RBIs, left Sunday night's loss to Tampa Bay in the third inning with back spasms. He is day to day.
Moreland and Gentry, the eighth and ninth hitters in Texas' lineup, swatted back-to-back solo shots off rookie left-hander Evan Crawford in the seventh, giving Darvish some extra cushion.
It was the third time this season the Rangers have hit consecutive home runs. Moreland's homer was his third while Gentry's drive was just his second in 213 career at_bats over parts of four seasons, and his first to clear the fence: His only other one was as an inside-the-park homer against Seattle last Sept. 23.
Texas opened the scoring in the second when Adrian Beltre led off with a double and scored one out later on a double by Nelson Cruz. The Rangers added one more in the third when Ian Kinsler drew a one-out walk and scored on Elvis Andrus' RBI double.
Darvish didn't allow a hit until the fourth but when he did, it was a big one. After being hit on the left elbow by a pitch in the second, Edwin Encarnacion responded by lining a two-out solo homer to left, his eighth of the year and fourth in four days.
It's the second time in his career that Encarnacion has homered in four straight games, something he also did in the final four games of 2010. Following his leadoff single in the seventh, Encarnacion had reached safely in nine straight plate appearances dating to Saturday, recording five hits, walking twice and twice being hit by a pitch. The streak ended when he struck out in the ninth.
NOTES: Darvish threw 97 pitches, 62 strikes. ... Kinsler's run in the third was his AL-leading 24th, setting a Rangers record for April. ... Citing Toronto's artificial turf, Washington started Beltre at DH, with Michael Young taking over at third base. ... The Blue Jays turned their major league-leading 31st double play. ... Attendance was 21,945.
The Associated Press News Service
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