SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Yu Darvish is more at ease in his second spring with the Texas Rangers, and he is still throwing hard.
The Japanese ace, who won 16 games last season as a major league rookie, struck out two while retiring all six White Sox he faced in his first spring start. The Sox then scored 11 runs over the next two innings on the way to a 14-8 victory Tuesday.
"His velocity was up, his stuff was just better," said new Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who faced his former team while catching Darvish. "He threw the ball really well and it was very encouraging to see. We talked in the bullpen and talked before the game about what he wanted to accomplish, and he accomplished everything that he wanted to and needed to."
Pierzynski, who spent the past eight seasons with the Sox before signing a one-year deal with Texas, had worked with the 26-year-old Darvish during an intrasquad game last week and in bullpen sessions.
Nestor Molina and Brian Omogrosso, the first two Sox pitchers, both had two shutout innings. Omogrosso is in the mix for a possible spot in the bullpen.
The Sox scored six runs in the third off 20-year-old Cody Buckel. The right-hander, the top minor league pitcher in the Rangers' organization last year, walked five of the seven batters he faced.
Evan Meek, in Rangers camp on a minor league contract, allowed five runs and five hits and got only two outs in the fourth.
Buckel was also hurt by an error when a liner ricocheted off the glove of third baseman Mike Olt, who later hit a two-run homer.
After throwing two balls to start the game, Darvish threw two strikes before getting leadoff hitter Dewayne Wise on a foul popout to Olt. Gordon Beckham then struck out.
"He looked good, same old stuff. He's got good stuff, throwing hard it looked like," Beckham said. "Threw me a couple of fastballs and a slider that struck me out."
Darvish went to three balls on two batters. On a full count, Adam Dunn struck out on a checked swing called strike to start the second before Seth Loman flew out on a 3-0 pitch, the last of 28 pitches Darvish threw – with his fastballs hitting the mid-90s.
Notes: Josh Phegley homered for the Sox in the eighth inning. ... The Sox had a 12-0 lead before Texas scored five times in the fifth on three hits, including Olt's first spring homer, and an error. ... The two teams play again Wednesday, in Glendale. ... Rangers RHP Colby Lewis, who will miss the start of the season while recovering from elbow surgery, said he felt good after throwing Monday off an elevated mound, but one lower than a normal mound. He still is being cautious, with plans to throw long toss Wednesday and off a regular mound Friday.