LOS ANGELES – Yu Darvish’s highly anticipated first home start as a Los Angeles Dodger ended amid some mystery as the Japanese right-hander left the game in the top of the seventh after being visited by the team’s trainer.
After Logan Forsythe ended the bottom of the sixth by bouncing into a double play, Darvish stood on the top step of the dugout before coming out and warming up, and he appeared ready to continue pitching in a game the Dodgers trailed 3-2 against the Chicago White Sox.
Manager Dave Roberts was seen shaking hands with Darvish after the top of the sixth, apparently indicating his night was over after he gave up eight hits and three runs – on three homers – and threw 90 pitches.
BOX SCORE: Dodgers 5, White Sox 4
But then Darvish came out for the seventh, only he didn’t throw a pitch before Roberts, the trainer, an interpreter and home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski met with him on the mound, and soon after that he exited, probably to the puzzlement of many of the 52,413 in attendance.
The Dodgers did not make any announcements regarding a Darvish injury.
After the game, Roberts said Darvish’s back tightened up.
It’s possible sending Darvish out was merely a stalling tactic to give reliever Brandon Morrow more time to warm up, although it seems he should have had ample time with the Dodgers sending four batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth.
Darvish, who was pitching on his 31st birthday in a game closely followed in his native Japan, was far from his overpowering self of prior starts. After becoming the second pitcher ever to strike out at least 10 batters in each of his first two outings as a Dodger, he failed to fan a batter until the sixth inning, when he punched out the last two.
Those wound up being his final two hitters.
The Dodgers went on win to win in the ninth inning thanks to a Yasiel Puig walk-off double for a 5-4 final.
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