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Strong start, same ending for Rangers after Darvish gets tagged early in 6-5 loss to Mets

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - Shin-Soo Choo got Texas off to a powerful start in its first visit to Citi Field. The ending, however, was all too familiar to the skidding Rangers.

Yu Darvish gave up four hits in a costly first inning and Travis d'Arnaud snapped an eighth-inning tie with a two-run double off Jason Frasor, sending the New York Mets to a 6-5 victory Friday night.

Choo hit a leadoff homer, and Adrian Beltre also went deep for the Rangers, who have dropped six in a row and 14 of 16. Their 10-game losing streak on the road is the club's longest since a 12-game slide in 2003.

"I'm tired of this," Choo said.

Darvish, pushed back a day because of rain Thursday in Baltimore, entered 6-1 with a 1.32 ERA in eight career starts against NL teams. But he was off in this one, allowing four runs and five hits in five innings.

"He was a little erratic with his command, but I thought he did a good job of righting the ship there in the last three innings," manager Ron Washington said.

Former closer Neftali Feliz, just recalled from the minors, walked his first two batters but tossed two scoreless innings in his first major league outing this season.

Elvis Andrus had his second consecutive three-hit game for the Rangers. Darvish doubled to the left-centre fence for his second hit in 11 major league at-bats — the first for extra bases.

New York overcame an early injury to starter Jonathon Niese in stopping a four-game losing streak. Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer off Darvish, and the Mets opened a 10-game homestand with their second victory in nine games.

"It's something every day. One day the pitching is really good, and one day the offence isn't helping," Choo said. "Winning teams, pitching's good and hitting's good at the same time. Right now, everything bad is coming together at the same time."

An angry Niese left in the first inning with a bruised lower back after he was hit by Alex Rios' line drive. X-rays were negative, the team said.

Star third baseman David Wright missed his seventh straight game with a sore left shoulder, but fill-in Eric Campbell had three hits and an RBI for New York. Carlos Torres, pressed into long relief when Niese was injured, gave up two runs in 4 2-3 valuable innings.

Bobby Abreu drew a leadoff walk from Aaron Poreda (2-1) in the eighth and Campbell singled off Frasor with one out before d'Arnaud sent a drive up the alley in right-centre.

"Life is better with a changeup, and it hasn't been there," Frasor said. "This road trip, anyway."

Jenrry Mejia (5-3) retired Rios with two runners in scoring position to end the eighth. Mejia allowed an RBI single by Adam Rosales in the ninth before getting pinch-hitter Robinson Chirinos on a tricky popup to finish a plodding game on Fireworks Night that took 4 hours, 8 minutes.

Choo hit his 13th career leadoff homer, second this season, on Niese's third pitch.

Moments later, Rios' drive nailed Niese on the left side of his lower back. He recovered in time to get Rios at first base — the only out he got — but was removed without trying a warmup pitch. Torres was given all the time he needed to get loose.

"It was precaution more than anything," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

The team's most reliable starter this season, Niese was done after 12 pitches. He fired his glove against the dugout wall and knocked over a bucket of bubble gum before disappearing down the tunnel.

"There's not much to say other than I'm fine. I didn't want to be taken out. I just felt like I was cheated there a little bit," Niese said.

NOTES: Rather than risk a weather-related flight delay, the Rangers bused from Baltimore to New York after Thursday night's loss. Washington said it took about 3 hours, 15 minutes, and the team arrived around 3:30 a.m. He said it was a much different experience than the long bus rides in the minors. "It was first class all the way. Those buses are so smooth, and before I knew it we were in Manhattan," Washington explained. "Hadn't rode a bus that far in a long time. It was worth it." ... C Geovany Soto was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock. Soto has been out all season following right knee surgery. ... RHP Nick Tepesch is penciled in to start the series finale Sunday, provided he isn't needed out of the bullpen before that. ... Wright hopes to play Saturday.

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