ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers turned their Friday game against the Chicago White Sox into Career Day at Globe Life Ballpark.
That can happen when you turn a game into a laugher that was highlighted by the biggest inning in baseball this season – a seven-run third inning. Add a career performance by Texas left-hander Martin Perez and it was certainly a good day for plenty of Rangers to add to their resumes.
By the time the Rangers had finished the shellacking, they had pummeled the White Sox 12-0 with Perez ending his first career shutout by matching his career high with eight strikeouts.
Of course it’s a lot easier to pitch when career numbers are falling offensively. That was the case for Leonys Martin, who fell a double short of the cycle but instead settled for matching his career high in RBI with four. Same goes for Jim Adduci. Texas manager Ron Washington wanted to get Adduci into a game so he sat Mitch Moreland and Adduci responded with his first career three-hit game.
Not to be outdone, catcher Robinson Chirinos became the first Texas player this year to reach two homers on the season. His two-run shot to left capped the seven-run second and was the second of his three hits, which gave him a new career high.
Friday’s came provided a nice relief for the Rangers during a 10-game homestand that’s featured four one-run games, including two walkoff wins.
"I wish I could see this every night but I know that’s not possible," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We’re just grinding out at-bats, having good at-bats throughout the lineup. That’s what it’s going to take and we’ve been doing it since we’ve been able to start putting something together."
There was no drama needed Friday.
A two-run first inning off Felipe Paulino was the warm-up act for the third. In that inning the Rangers sent 11 batters to the plate, collected six hits and had their biggest inning since an 11-run frame against Houston last August. Alex Rios had a two-run single, Martin a two-run triple and Chirinos a two-run homer as the White Sox left Paulino in to absorb the beating.
And a beating it was. Four different Rangers had three-hit nights to key the 18-safety onslaught. The only real drama surrounded Martin, who had a chance at the cycle. After striking out in the second inning, he followed that with his triple in the third, a homer to right in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth inning. Needing a double off Scott Downs in the eighth inning for the cycle, he struck out.
While the offense is good, the hitters marveled at the performance of Perez as Texas chalked up its fifth shutout 17 games, becoming just the fourth team to do that since 1969.
"He was fun to catch, fun to watch," Chirinos said of Perez. "He’s executing every pitcher. He’s going to have nights like tonight when he’s throwing down in the strike zone with all his pitches. He’s been attacking and competing from day one."
While Perez (3-0) liked the support, it proved to be overkill for the left-hander who pitched eight scoreless innings and hasn’t allowed a run in 17-consecutive frames. He struck out eight for the third time in his career and lowered his ERA to 1.86.
Perez is the first Texas pitcher to have consecutive outings with at least eight scoreless frames since C.J. Wilson did it in September of 2011 and he’s the first Texas pitcher to record a shutout since Derek Holland did it last September.
Washington had Shawn Tolleson warming in the ninth in case Perez ran into trouble but he finished off his 109-pitch start with a perfect frame.
"I was just trying to make quick outs," Perez said. "In the eighth inning Wash asked me if I feel great and I said ‘Yeah I got this game and give me one more inning because I know I can win this game and I’ve got this game.’ This is a big deal for me and I just want to concentrate and prepare for my next start. I felt comfortable and I knew my sinker was working tonight."