Yu Darvish came oh, so close again.
The Japanese ace fell one out shy of a no-hitter for the second time Friday night, giving up only a ninth-inning single to David Ortiz in the Texas Rangers’ 8-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Rookie second baseman Rougned Odor, positioned in shallow right field, made a diving attempt but the ball was out of his reach. If the Rangers had not shifted their infield — a standard practice against Ortiz — it probably would have been a routine grounder to second.
Darvish lost a perfect-game bid with two outs in the ninth inning last season against Houston. This time, he bent his knees and put his glove on his hips after the base hit. Texas manager Ron Washington then made a slow walk to the mound, with the 45,392 in attendance cheering and chanting “Yuuuuuu!”
Darvish struck out 12 and walked two while throwing 126 pitches.
The 20-year-old Odor, playing his second major league game, and Ortiz were also involved in the seventh-inning play that ended Darvish’s try for a perfect game.
Darvish struck out eight of the first 11 batters he faced and retired 20 in a row until Ortiz hit a high popup to right field with two outs in the seventh.
Odor was also shifted into shallow right then and drifted back for the ball while right fielder Alex Rios was coming in before suddenly stopping. Odor lunged with his glove extended above his head but the ball dropped between them.
An error was charged to Rios after official scorer Steve Weller looked at replays and conferred with several others.
Darvish, who was coming off the mound in case he needed to back up a base, crouched down when the ball hit the ground. Former Rangers catcher Mike Napoli then drew a walk before Grady Sizemore’s inning-ending flyout.
Darvish came within one out of a perfect game during his first start of the 2013 season in Houston, where Marwin Gonzalez singled to break it up. Darvish then lost a no-hit bid with one out in the eighth against the Astros last August.
Four weeks ago, Darvish was perfect through five innings at home against the Astros before a leadoff single in the sixth. He threw eight scoreless innings that night in a game the Rangers won 1-0 in 12 innings.
Elvis Andrus had four hits and scored three times for the Rangers.
Andrus was back in his normal No. 2 spot in the batting order for the first time in six games. Washington had moved his shortstop down in the lineup after a 2-for-34 slide that dropped him to a season-low .217, but moved him back to split up the five left-handers in his lineup against Clay Buchholz (2-3).
Buchholz allowed six runs and 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two while throwing 96 pitches.
It was Darvish’s 21st career game with at least 10 strikeouts, the most in the majors since his debut in 2012. Detroit’s Max Scherzer is next on the list with 14 in that span.
Darvish was winless in his previous nine home starts, despite a 2.83 ERA in those games. He had not won at home since last Aug. 1 against Arizona.
Texas went ahead to stay when Andrus had a one-out single in the first and scored on a double by Adrian Beltre.
NOTES: Andrus had the first four-hit game by a Texas player this season. … Odor, the youngest player to appear in a major league game this season, got his first hit with a single in the fourth.