ARLINGTON, Texas - Inconsistency was the key for Yu Darvish.
With a devastating slider going in different directions and command of his fastball, Darvish matched his major-league high with 14 strikeouts and the Texas Rangers won their fourth game in a row, 7-1 over the Arizona Diamondbacks in a makeup game Thursday night.
"Some of (the sliders) were dropping down, some of them were going sideways," Darvish said through an interpreter. "The movement on my slider was really inconsistent and that worked in my favor."
Darvish (10-5) certainly had the Diamondbacks hitters baffled, 78 of his 111 pitches were thrown for strikes over seven scoreless innings. He had no walks and scattered five hits in his 50th major league start.
"As a hitter you have a lot of different thought processes in the box," Arizona's Adam Eaton said. "When you hit your spots and you have that many pitches, it's tough as a hitter to put the ball in play and get good swings on the ball."
Darvish also had 14 strikeouts when he faced the Diamondbacks just more than two months ago. But they managed to score four runs over 7 2/3 innings that night and won with a run in the ninth.
A.J. Pierzynski, Mitch Moreland and David Murphy all homered off Zeke Spruill (0-1), who went four innings in his first major league start. Pierzynski later added a two-run single.
Those homers were all hit early for the Rangers, who came off a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with game-ending homers in each.
"Our offense has woken up, and the key is to just keep going," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We knew it was in there, it was just a matter of it coming out, and we're playing as a group."
Darvish struck out 10 of his first 13 batters, marking the 16th time since he joined the Rangers from Japan last season that he fanned at least 10. Dwight Gooden with 20 is the only other pitcher since 1900 with more in his first 50 starts.
"He was as good as I've seen him all year, counting the almost perfect game he threw the first start of the year. His stuff was just nasty," said Pierzynski, also the catcher when Darvish retired the first 26 batters at Houston four months ago.
• What: Diamondbacks at Red Sox
• When: 4:10 p.m.
• TV; radio: FSAZ; 1490-AM, 104.9-FM