(Reuters) - Japanese All Star pitcher Yu Darvish struck out 10 Toronto batters but it was not enough to claim victory as the lowly Blue Jays scored a 3-2 home triumph over the Texas Rangers on Friday.
Darvish pitched seven innings and gave up three hits but a poor Rangers offence confined him to his ninth loss of the year (12-9) and his second in three starts.
The defeat dropped the Rangers to 68-50 but they remain in control at the top of the American League West, while Toronto improved to 56-63 but still anchor the American League East.
Darvish was behind the eight ball from the opening inning, walking Kelly Johnson before Edwin Encarnacion powered his 31st home run of the campaign to take a 2-0 lead.
But he did everything he could to get his side back in the contest, retiring 13 of the next 14 batters he faced.
It was the seventh time this season the Japanese ace had reached double figures in strikeouts, tying him with Jim Bibby for the Rangers rookie mark set 39 years ago.
Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ did his best to match Darvish, striking out eight over six innings and retiring the first nine batters he faced in the match to equal a Toronto record.
"That's as good a three innings as you're going to see anywhere," Toronto skipper John Farrell told reporters.
Craig Gentry's groundout to second put Texas on the board in the fifth but Toronto scored one of their own in the bottom of the inning when Rajai Davis singled to centre.
The Rangers added another in the seventh but the Blue Jays grounded out the win.
(Reporting By Ben Everill in Los Angeles. Editing by Patrick Johnston)