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Astros’ Feldman pitches after death of his father

- Associated Press - Saturday, April 12, 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Scott Feldman had a tough assignment Friday night, facing Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish.

That would have been true even without the emotional burden the Houston Astros pitcher faced following his father Marshall's death Wednesday at age 70.

Darvish took a perfect-game bid into the sixth and allowed only hit in eight scoreless innings. Feldman was nearly as good, shutting out the Rangers on two hits for seven innings.

"It was a rough couple of days," Feldman said after Houston's 1-0, 12-inning loss. "I had to go out and keep my emotions in check. I think he was watching. He was a big baseball fan. I knew he would want me to do a good job."

He gave up a second-inning double to Mitch Moreland and a fifth-inning infield hit to Leonys Martin. Feldman walked four and hit Kouzmanoff and Moreland with pitches with one out in the seventh.

An intentional walk loaded the bases with two outs. Feldman then struck out Josh Wilson.

"I knew he was going to be my last batter," Feldman said. "I don't have too much extra to play with."

Feldman lowered his ERA to 0.44. He won his first two starts and has allowed one earned run in 20 2-3 innings.

"He had a tremendous game, dealing with the family issues the way he did," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "That speaks to what a professional he is."

Darvish retired his first 15 batters before Matt Dominguez singled softly to center, one pitch after Alex Rios nearly caught Dominguez's foul into the right-field corner before running into the padded wall as the ball landed.

"When he left the game," Porter said, "we just thought, 'Let's take our shot at somebody else.'"

The Texas bullpen limited Houston to one more hit and two walks.

Darvish hasn't allowed a run in 15 innings through two starts. Rangers manager Ron Washington said he sees a crisper Darvish than the one who led the major leagues in strikeouts last season.

"In a way, he's just saying he can do anything that he wants to do with that baseball," Washington said.

Darvish walked only one batter. He fanned five consecutive batters in the third and fourth innings, all swinging. And he pitched despite bleeding from the knuckle of his right thumb in the middle innings.

Darvish came within one out of a perfect game in Houston on April 2 last year, when Marwin Gonzalez grounded a single between the pitcher's legs. He held the Astros hitless in Houston last Aug. 12 before Carlos Corporan's one-out homer in the eighth.

Dominguez had both of the Astros' hits Friday, including a leadoff single against Neal Cotts in the 11th inning. The third baseman had two home runs against Darvish last May 11 in his only career loss to Houston.

Former President George W. Bush - a former Rangers' owner - watched with Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, who quit as Texas' controlling owner last October and became executive adviser of the Astros.

Texas was 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position and had stranded 15 runners before the 12th. Robinson Chirinos' two-out single scored Kevin Kouzmanoff, who had singled with one out and advanced to second base on a wild pitch by Brad Peacock (0-1).

Peacock worked out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the 10th with the help of a five-man infield.

Jason Frasor (1-0) worked a hitless inning for the victory, which took 4 hours, 11 minutes.

Houston lost 17 of 19 against the Rangers last season.

"I'm extremely proud of them," Porter said. "That's a really good baseball game for both teams. We went through a lot of adversity, a lot of break points. Both teams were definitely winners tonight."

NOTES: The game marked the 20th anniversary of the debut of Globe Life Park, named The Ballpark in Arlington when it opened. It was the first game in stadium history to go into the 12th inning scoreless. ... Rangers RHP Colby Lewis, who hasn't pitched since July 2012 because of arm and hip injuries, is scheduled to start early next week. ... Astros RHP Matt Albers returned from paternity leave on Friday. His wife, Tara, delivered their first child, Mason James. ... The Rangers returned RHP Seth Rosin to the Philadelphia Phillies, who assigned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Rosin (1-0) was taken by the New York Mets in the winter meeting draft, traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and claimed on waivers by Texas on March 26.

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