In 2012, Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish made a splashy debut in Major League baseball, winning 16 games, recording 221 strikeouts, and earning an All-Star nod.
As the team's undisputed ace heading into 2013, Yu has become the face of the franchise, especially after the departure of star outfielder Josh Hamilton to the Angels. Rangers fans expect big things this year.
And tonight, for 26 batters in a row, they got more than they could've hoped for. Yu was flawless, allowing no runner to reach base safely. His 14 strikeouts? A career high.
His speed and control? Impeccable. Astros hitters were off-balance all game long. Look at those changeups.
But with two outs in the ninth, Yu gave up a hit to Houston's Marwin Gonzalez and lost what would have been the 24th perfect game in MLB history — and the first by a Japanese pitcher.
The Rangers announcers? They were stunned, just like everyone else watching.
Yu? Oh, he knew. But he took it in stride.
The Astros announcers, though? They reacted with an extremely awkward comment about Yu learning English-language obscenities, presumably to express his frustration.
Former MLB catcher and Astros color man Alan Ashby: "That'll force a guy to learn some of the language here in America." Yeeeeeeeesh.