Fresh of the disabled list from neck discomfort, the lanky right-hander allowed seven hits over seven scoreless innings Sunday to help his Texas Rangers avoid a three-game sweep with a 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
He struck out six and walked one, leaving the Rays hitless in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position during his season debut.
Darvish got right down to business, accomplishing his 500th career strikeout by fanning David DeJesus and Wil Myers in the first inning. In fact, the 401.2 innings in which he did so was the fewest number of innings for any starter to reach that milestone in major league history. That's just three innings fewer than that of the old record holder, Kerry Wood.
The Rangers are hoping for another stellar season out of Darvish after his performance last year, in which he boasted a 2.83 ERA with a league-best 277 strikeouts and 13-9 record in 32 starts.