ARLINGTON, Texas — Joey Gallo hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning and the Rangers rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 8-6 on Saturday night, long after Yu Darvish flopped in the former Texas ace’s return to his first home in the majors.
Gallo’s homer to center field came off reliever Carl Edwards Jr. (0-1), who didn’t retire any of the four batters he faced in the first win for new Rangers manager Chris Woodward.
Texas closer Jose Leclerc pitched the ninth for the save, getting Willson Contreras on a fly out to center after Kyle Schwarber bunted away from the shift for a hit to bring the tying run to the plate.
Darvish walked seven of the first 13 batters in his first outing against his former team, failing to make it out of the third inning.
The Japanese star recorded nothing but walks and strikeouts to the first 10 hitters after the Cubs gave him a 3-0 lead, tying a career high by walking six the first time through the order.
Rougned Odor’s RBI single was the first ball in play in the second. An inning later, Darvish’s seventh walk set up Asdrubal Cabrera’s first homer with the Rangers , a two-run shot for a 4-3 Texas deficit.
Darvish was gone a batter later after 75 pitches in 2 2/3 innings, the shortest regular season outing for the right-hander who spent his first five-plus seasons with the Rangers.
Darvish, who struck out four, missed the last four months of his first season with the Cubs because of elbow and arm injuries. Texas dealt the four-time All-Star to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the trading deadline in 2017.
Edinson Volquez’s layoff was even longer, with his first big league start since July 5, 2017 coming off Tommy John surgery. The right-hander, who reached the majors with the Rangers 14 years ago and was later traded for Josh Hamilton, gave up four runs, six hits and four walks in four innings in his first Texas outing since 2007.
The Cubs had three straight run-scoring singles in the first inning, starting with Javier Baez after the cleanup hitter homered twice in a 12-4 Chicago win on opening day.
Schwarber added to his RBI single with a solo homer in the fifth , and Contreras followed his with two doubles. The first drove in another run, the second led to him scoring for a 6-3 lead.
Darvish struck out the first two hitters, including one of four strikeouts for leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo in his season debut after the Rangers’ only 2018 All-Star wasn’t in the lineup for the opener. Darvish followed with three straight walks before striking out Cabrera , who had three hits.
In the second, Darvish walked the first three before a strikeout of Choo, Odor’s run-scoring hit and a fly out from Elvis Andrus.
Jose Quintana, a lefty starter making a rare relief appearance, pitched into and out of trouble in the fifth and sixth before letting Texas get within 6-5 on Choo’s two-run single in the seventh .