WASHINGTON (AP) — Yu Darvish struck out 12 batters over eight innings as the Texas Rangers secured a 2-0 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

Pitching for the first time since May 22 after missing his last turn with a stiff neck, Darvish (5-2) gave up five hits and walked two in dropping his ERA to 2.08. The right-hander matched his season high in strikeouts and overpowered a club that won 9-2 on Friday and 10-2 Saturday.

"That team for two days just swung the bats at will, threw the ball around the ballpark, out of the ballpark," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We certainly needed to try to slow them down, and (Darvish) did that. He slowed them down. Yu was good today. He was very good. When the team needed him to be very good, he was."

Darvish struck out the side in the second inning and fanned two in each of the next three innings before encountering trouble in the sixth. One-out singles by Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche put runners at first and third before Darvish struck out Wilson Ramos and retired Ian Desmond on a deep fly to right field.

Leonys Martin broke open a scoreless duel with a homer in the seventh for the win.

Darvish yielded a two-out walk in the seventh and left after a 1-2-3 eighth.

"We just needed Yu to pitch well," Washington said, "and he pitched well."

Darvish was worried that neck stiffness might be a problem, but it obviously didn't turn out to be an issue.

"Last night before I went to bed, I was very scared to wake up with a neck injury so I probably woke up 20 times," he said through a translator. "But I didn't have any pain when I woke up this morning."

Darvish got the only run he needed when Martin hit an 0-1 pitch from Tanner Roark (3-4) into the Washington bullpen beyond the right-field wall. It was his third home run in 183 at-bats this season and ended the Rangers' run of homerless games at six.

Roark allowed only one run and seven hits in seven innings but lost his third straight start.

The Rangers won despite losing an apparent run in a rare double challenge on the same play. Washington of Texas and Matt Williams lodged separate complaints after a double steal in the first inning.

Joakim Soria worked a perfect ninth to earn his 11th save and seal Texas' major league-leading 11th shutout.

"He made one mistake to Martin, a changeup that was up in the strike zone," Williams said. "Other than that, he matched him perfectly."