ARLINGTON, Texas — Yu Darvish came oh, so close again.
The Japanese ace fell one out shy of a no-hitter for the second time Friday night, giving up a ninth-inning single to David Ortiz in the Texas Rangers’ 8-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
“This is the second time I experienced this, but if I keep pitching like this, someday I’ll get it,” Darvish said through his translator. “Someday, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and I’ll probably have another record of almost a no-hitter.”
Rookie second baseman Rougned Odor, positioned in shallow right field, made a diving attempt at Ortiz’s hit but the ball was out of his reach. If the Rangers had not shifted their infield toward the right side of the diamond — a standard practice against the pull-happy Ortiz — it probably would have been a routine grounder to second.
Darvish lost a perfect-game bid with two outs in the ninth inning last season against Houston. This time, he bent his knees and put his glove on his hips after the base hit. Texas manager Ron Washington then made a slow walk to the mound, with the 45,392 in attendance cheering and chanting “Yuuuuuu!”
Darvish (3-1) struck out 12 and walked two while throwing 126 pitches.
“He was on his game early,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “ That combination of being powerful and the secondary pitches and the assortment of them ends up being a night like tonight.”
The 20-year-old Odor, playing his second major league game, and Ortiz were also involved in the play that ended Darvish’s try for a perfect game.
Darvish struck out eight of the first 11 batters he faced and retired 20 in a row until Ortiz hit a high popup to right field with two outs in the seventh.
Odor was also shifted into shallow right then and drifted back for the ball while right fielder Alex Rios came in before suddenly stopping. Odor lunged with his glove extended above his head but the ball dropped between them.
“As soon as he hit it, I thought it was going to be a hit,” Darvish said. “Obviously I was a little bit disappointed, but I was already ready to give up a hit, so it didn’t really matter.”
An error was charged to Rios after official scorer Steve Weller looked at replays and conferred with several others because of the significance of the play.
“I should have taken control of that ball,” Rios said. “We were camped under the ball, so it can be called an error.”