Yu Darvish flirted with a no-hitter on Monday, notching a career-high 15 strikeouts and surrendering one hit -- a home run -- in the Texas Rangers' 2-1 victory over Houston.
The Rangers' Japanese pitching ace retired the first 17 batters he faced before surrendering a walk in the sixth inning.
He didn't allow a hit until Carlos Corporan smacked a homer to right with one out in the eighth.
"A win's a win," Darvish said. "I'm just glad I was a big part of this win."
It wasn't the first time Darvish has come close to a no-hitter.
He was one out shy of a rare perfect game against the Astros on April 2, when he retired 26 batters before surrendering a ninth-inning single to Houston's Marwin Gonzalez.
"It was pretty much similar stuff," Houston manager Bo Porter said in comparing the Japanese star's two dominant outings against his team.
"Again, you are talking about a guy who has number one starter stuff and knows how to use it. He doesn't just have control, he has command," Porter said.
On Monday, Darvish had his bid for perfection end with two out in the sixth when he walked Jonathan Viller.
Rangers catcher AJ Pierzynski was ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes with plate umpire Ron Kulpa during Viller's at-bat.
"When he got ejected, I thought, 'What is he doing?'" Darvish admitted.
With Geovany Soto as his catcher, Darvish kept the Astros without a hit until Corporan lined a homer into the right-field seats.
Rangers outfielder Alex Rios chased the ball to the warning track only to see it sail into the stands.
Darvish has now won three straight starts. He took his strikeouts for the season to a major league leading 207 in 23 starts, matching Nolan Ryan's club record for fewest starts needed to notch 200 strikeouts in a season.
Darvish improved on his major league career record of 14 strikeouts in a game, which he had achieved four times this season.
Reliever Joe Nathan picked up his 35th save of the season with a perfect ninth.