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TEX@HOU: Darvish takes perfect game into the ninth

Five days after Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish nearly gave us perfection on the season's third day, he and Angels ace Jered Weaver are in position to possibly put together one of the year's best pitching duels less than a week into the season.

Matching Weaver, more than building upon his 14-strikeout, one-hit gem against the Astros, is what Rangers manager Ron Washington is hoping to see from Darvish on Sunday night at Rangers Ballpark.

"I don't know if he can improve on near-perfection," Washington said. "What I would like for him to do is keep us in the ballgame. If he happens to flirt with perfection, that would be awesome."

Although Darvish will face much stiffer competition Sunday than he did in his debut, both in regards to the Angels offense and his counterpart on the mound, Darvish said his plan is to keep it simple.

"My approach is going to be the same no matter who I face," said Darvish, who was 3-1 with a 4.23 ERA in six starts against the Angels last year. "I am going to do my job."

Weaver said he saw some video of Darvish's near-perfecto, which ended with a single up the middle with two outs in the ninth inning. While Darvish's first start of 2013 was nearly one for the record books, Weaver's six innings of one-run ball against Cincinnati wasn't nearly as dominant. That doesn't necessarily mean Weaver is waiting to go pitch for pitch with Mr. Near-Perfect, though.

"I try not to get too caught up in matchups," Weaver said. "It'll be a challenge facing these guys, as it always is. They're a good club with some dangerous hitters."

Weaver is 13-7 with a 3.61 ERA in 30 career starts against the Rangers and, although he won four his five starts against Texas last year, he posted a 4.70 ERA in those outings.

Angels: Offensive power
After averaging 3.3 runs in their first four games of the season, the Angels put up eight runs in Saturday's win. With the big three of Albert Pujols (two HRs, three RBIs on Saturday), Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout, as well as a talented supporting cast, the offense didn't figure to be an issue for the Angels this season. And, as they proved Saturday, it shouldn't be.

"It's bound to get going sooner or later -- sooner than later," Weaver said. "There are too many talented guys on this team for something good not to happen."

Rangers: Errorless streak snapped
• Texas extended its errorless streak to 36 innings Saturday before third baseman Adrian Beltre committed a fielding error in the sixth. Not only was it the Rangers' first error since March 31, but also the first miscue by a Rangers infielder this season.

• Lance Berkman has hit safely in each of his first five games as a Ranger and is batting .471 with three doubles, three RBIs and three walks.

• Joe Nathan's next save will be the 300th of his career, making him the 24th pitcher in Major League history to reach the mark. Only one other active pitcher, New York's Mariano Rivera, with 609 as of Saturday, has 300 career saves.

Worth noting
• Trout is 6-for-17 with two home runs against Darvish. He is one of two players, along with Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion, who hit two home runs off Darvish last season.

• Elvis Andrus' .383 average (23-for-60) against Weaver is the fifth highest among opponents with at least 25 at-bats against the right-hander. Andrus also has hit two of his 15 career home runs off Weaver.

• Mitch Moreland is 9-for-26 (.346) off Weaver with two homers.

• The Rangers announced Saturday evening that there were 6,500 tickets available for Sunday's matchup. Comments