Arlington, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Yu Darvish had a perfect game ended by a pop fly no one wanted to catch in the seventh inning, and a no-hitter broken up with two outs in the ninth.
So it goes for the Texas Rangers right-hander.
After flirting with perfect games and no-hitters the past two seasons, Darvish once again came up short in an 8-0 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday.
Darvish was one out away from the first Rangers no-hitter in 20 years when David Ortiz pulled a single through the shift on the right side.
Earlier, Darvish had retired the first 20 batters before Ortiz hit a two-out pop fly into right field in the seventh that dropped in between second baseman Rougned Odor and right fielder Alex Rios without either one touching the ball.
The official scorer ruled the play an error on Rios and Darvish worked his way through the order, not allowing a hit until the ninth.
"Typically 10 out of 10, that's a base hit," Boston manager John Farrell said of the play.
Darvish (3-1), who walked two and struck out 12 in 8 2/3 innings, was one out shy of a perfect game on April 2 last season when Houston's Marwin Gonzalez slapped a single into center to end the bid.
"This is the second time I've experienced this," Darvish said through an interpreter. "If I keep pitching like this, one day I'll come through."
It would have been the sixth no-hitter in franchise history and the first since Kenny Rogers threw a perfect game in a 4-0 win over the California Angels on July 28, 1994.
The Red Sox haven't been no-hit since April 22, 1993 by Seattle's Chris Bosio.
"He was powerful," Farrell said of Darvish. "He never gave in. He had all four of his pitches working for him. He was on his game early. You tip your hat to how well it was pitched."
Boston starter Clay Buchholz (2-3) was charged with the loss after allowing six runs on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings.
Odor, playing in his second career Major League game, was stuck right in the middle of the controversial play in the seventh.
Ortiz skied a 3-1 pitch from Darvish into shallow right that seemingly would keep the perfect game intact. Odor moved out to settle under the fly as Rios moved in. Rios stopped dead in his tracks and the ball fell in between the two.
"It was a 3-1 count and I had to throw a fastball in that situation and I thought it was going to be a hit when it was hit," said Darvish. "Obviously I was a little disappointed, but I was ready to give up a hit."
Mike Napoli then walked before Darvish got Grady Sizemore to fly out to Rios, who this time he secured the catch to keep the no-hitter alive.
"I was very calm," Darvish said of the error. "The walk I gave up to Napoli I got very mad at myself, but I was able to keep pitching."
And keep pitching he did.
Darvish allowed a leadoff walk to Xander Bogaerts in the eighth, then set the Red Sox down in order from there.
In the ninth, Dustin Pedroia grounded out and Shane Victorino struck out before Ortiz muscled a 1-2 fastball right past Odor in shallow right.
Manager Ron Washington immediately exited the dugout to take Darvish out after 126 pitches. Alexi Ogando came on to pick up the last out.
"I think that's the best stuff he's had since he's been here," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "His stuff tonight was real good. He did one heck of a job tonight against a good offensive club."
Texas opened the scoring in the first, as Elvis Andrus singled with one out and Adrian Beltre followed with a double into the left-field corner that scored Andrus.
Shin-Soo Choo walked to lead off the third and Andrus followed with a single to center.
After a Beltre strikeout, Prince Fielder laced a single into left that scored Choo. Andrus moved over to third on the Fielder single and scored when Rios lifted a sacrifice fly to right that made it a 3-0 lead after three.
Andrus singled and Fielder walked two batters later to put runners on first and second with one out in the fifth. Rios followed Fielder with a single that scored Andrus and the Rangers increased the cushion to 4-0.
Chris Capuano, who relieved Buchholz, was called for a balk when facing Mitch Moreland that allowed Fielder and Rios to advance. Moreland then ripped a single to left that plated Fielder and Rios scored on a J.P. Arencibia sacrifice fly to left.
Leonys Martin added on with a two-run homer to right that made it an 8-0 game after five.