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Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish won for the fifth time in six Major League Baseball starts on Tuesday, striking out nine in six innings to spark the Texas Rangers over the Chicago White Sox 10-6.
Despite allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks and giving up his first home run of the season to Dewayne Wise in the sixth inning, Darvish baffled batters much of the night for the American League West division leader.
Darvish boosted his major league-high strikeout total to 58 for the season, although his scoreless streak was snapped at 18 innings by the White Sox.
"This is about as dominant as I've seen someone," said Rangers manager Ron Washington.
"This guy is finesse and power. He can do either of those, and because he can, when he's on he can make good hitters look bad. When he's not on, he has enough in his repertoire that he can still hang in the ballgame."
At 5-1 in his second season since arriving from Japan, Darvish has become one of the hottest pitchers in the major leagues with lightning speed on his fastball and masterful deceptiveness on his curve ball.
"He's unreal," Rangers relief pitcher Robbie Ross said. "You've come to expect him to throw up double-digit strikeouts every start.
"He throws a curveball at 63 mph and then comes back with a fastball at 96 mph. It's hard to believe someone can do that."
The Rangers have even introduced a special cheering section in the upper seating area of their ballpark when Darvish is pitching -- the "Yuniverse."
"I don't think I'm pitching exactly as I was in Japan, but I think I'm able to pitch my game," Darvish said. "It's different than how I pitched in Japan."
Whatever he has done, he has made major league batters adjust to him as much as he has had to adjust to America.
"He has as good a stuff as any pitcher I've ever played behind," Rangers outfielder David Murphy said. "The sky's the limit for him."
Darvish offers three versions of his fastball, differing curve balls and change-up pitches and a slider with different angles and speeds that fools many a rival batter.
"It's just a gift from God that he can have the same arm speed and that much variation in velocity," Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux said.