ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dan Straily tuned in to the MLB Network in his hotel room Tuesday to hear all the hype about Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish's upcoming start that night.
The A's rookie right-hander said he wasn't even mentioned by name as Darvish's mound opponent.
"No, why would they?" Straily said. "(My picture) was up there on the tube, side by side with him, but that was it."
Well, Straily sure made a name for himself at Rangers Ballpark on Tuesday. He outdueled Darvish in masterful fashion, throwing seven shutout innings of two-hit ball, and, with stellar relief support, beat Texas 1-0 on the strength of Yoenis Cespedes' third-inning home run.
Straily allowed just two singles against one of the hottest-hitting teams in baseball, one by A.J. Pierzynski in the third and another by Jurickson Profar in the sixth. He didn't walk a batter and only had two three-ball counts while striking out five.
How unlikely was this? Straily came into the game with a 1-2 record and a 7.27 ERA. Darvish was 7-1 with a 2.97, and he was also 14-2 at Rangers Ballpark.
But Straily sounded as if he was highly motivated hearing all the Yu whoop-de-do on TV. Darvish was good -- six innings, five hits, five strikeouts -- but Straily was better.
"Obviously, he's the star of the show over there, and I knew there were going to be a lot of quick innings from him," Straily said. "So coming in, you knew you had to throw up a lot of zeros to give your team a chance to win. And when Cespy hit that home run, I just told myself, 'Keep it there.' "
This very well could have been a breakthrough start for a guy who, despite seven starts last year with Oakland, has looked very much the inconsistent rookie. But manager Bob Melvin is convinced Straily has all the tools to be a highly successful big league pitcher and thinks it might have been a blessing in disguise that the game was so low-scoring.
"It would have been nice to give him three, four, five runs and a little bit of breathing room, but who knows?" Melvin said. "Maybe that's what he needed, an outing where he has to be borderline perfect."
Catcher John Jaso said Straily was confident and aggressive from the outset.
"I can't remember one hitter that he got behind," Jaso said. "That was the key right there. He limited the pitches they could see in an at-bat, he threw everything for strikes and kept them guessing. He just kept pounding strikes, and you can get really good hitters out by throwing quality strikes."
Straily was so good he only had 88 pitches after seven innings, but Melvin wasn't about to tempt fate. He wanted Straily to leave the park with a great outing, win or lose, but Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour made sure it wound up in the win column with a scoreless inning apiece.
With Jed Lowrie locked in at shortstop, the A's are exploring what they can do with Nakajima at other infield positions. His rehab assignment ends Thursday.
A's (Jarrod Parker 2-5) at Texas (Ross Wolf 0-0),
11:05 a.m. CSNCA