ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Kyodo) -- Amid talk of a potential trade, Yu Darvish had a season-high 12 strikeouts and the Texas Rangers snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-3 extra-innings win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.
Darvish, who was not involved in the decision, had 10-plus strikeouts for the 32nd time in his major league career, surpassing Hideo Nomo for the most by a Japanese pitcher.
The 30-year-old Darvish (6-8), allowed three runs on five hits over eight innings, walking one. Elvis Andrus' RBI single in the 10th gave the Rangers the victory.
Three of the five hits Darvish allowed were solo home runs to Brad Miller, Corey Dickerson and Mallex Smith. Darvish left the mound trailing 3-1, but teammate Choo Shin Soo's two-run homer in the top of the ninth tied it to take him off the hook.
"Overall I thought I pitched well," said Darvish. "When I got ahead with two strikes, I was basically trying to strike batters out."
According to the Rangers, Darvish's 11.03 strikeouts per nine innings are the most in history by any major league starter with 500-plus innings pitched.
"I hope to get batters to hit the ball early in the count," he said, a statement supported by his needing just 101 pitches over eight innings.
"I gave up three home runs, so I clearly still have work to do."
With the Rangers slipping out of playoff contention and Darvish in the final year of the contract that brought him to the majors from the Nippon Ham Fighters, the Rangers have reportedly been contacting clubs about a possible trade this month for the right-hander.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, Junichi Tazawa got the job done for the Miami Marlins in a 3-1 win over the Reds after entering in the seventh with two on and no outs.
The Reds sacrificed to put the tying runs in scoring position, and Tazawa, who had not allowed a run in his previous six appearances, walked the bases loaded. But the right-hander got a force out at the plate from a ground ball and a fly to end the inning.
"I wasn't amazingly sharp or anything, but it was big to keep them from scoring," Tazawa said. "The thought of allowing runs entered my mind, but I was able to pitch the way I envisioned."
Marlins teammate Ichiro Suzuki pinch hit in the ninth inning but flied out.