(Reuters) - The Texas Rangers left it late against American League West rivals Seattle on Friday but exploded for seven runs in the eighth inning to secure a 9-3 win over the Mariners.
Yu Darvish (15-9) won the battle of Japanese rookie pitchers against Hisashi Iwakuma, allowing just two hits and one run in seven innings for the division-leading Rangers.
Darvish struck out nine to take his season total to 205 strikeouts, becoming the 16th rookie to take at least 200 since 1900.
Dwight Gooden holds the rookie record with 276 in 1984 with the Mets.
Darvish is now 4-1 with a 2.32 ERA in his last six games and improved his season ERA to 4.02.
“It’s not the same Darvish they saw earlier in the year,” Rangers manager Ron Washington told reporters.
”It’s a different pitcher. He has a different attitude. The difference is he’s not trying to use everything he has.
“He’s identifying what’s working and he’s going with it and he’ll do something else later on. He’s not the same pitcher they saw in April or May. It’s a different guy and it showed tonight.”
Leading just 2-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth thanks to solo home runs by Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton in the first and third innings, the Rangers notched up seven runs to take control.
Elvis Andrus started the blitz with a double to left field before Hamilton brought him home with a double of his own.
Hamilton then scored after an error by second baseman Dustin Ackley, Geovany Soto doubled to bring in two and the man who started it, ended it, when Andrus tripled with the bases loaded to add three more.
Seattle (69-76) were held to two runs in the ninth as the Rangers moved to 86-58 on the season.
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford/Patrick Johnston