ARLINGTON, Texas — Once again Friday night Texas left-hander Martin Perez looked every bit the part of a solid rotation member of the Rangers.
Perez, who beat the St. Louis Cardinals last weekend, shut down a potent Cincinnati offense Friday night as the Rangers blanked the Reds 4-0.
Buoyed by the 6 2/3 shutout innings from Perez, the Rangers were able to complete their second-consecutive shutout and run their scoreless inning streak to 20 innings.
In his two starts since getting called up last Saturday, Perez is now 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA and has given the Texas rotation another solid rookie arm to go with Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm.
Perez tried to keep things as simple as possible Friday and it paid off as he threw just 79 pitches, struck out three and walked just one. He’s the first Texas starter to have consecutive starts of at least six innings and no extra-base hits allowed since C.J. Wilson in September of 2011.
“I just want to continue to do the same job,” Perez said. “I don’t want to change my routine. I think I do a great job now and I just want to keep going and continue to do what I did today, throw my changeup, my sink and my fastball away.”
He did just that and also got defensive help behind him and some early offense support. He allowed back-to-back singles to open the second inning but the Reds didn’t score as he started a key double play, one of two turned behind him Friday in addition to a pair of stellar plays from Jurickson Profar at shortstop.
The Rangers also got going offensively early, scoring in the first inning for the first time since June 7 on an RBI single from Adrian Beltre. Texas also score two runs in a second inning that included four walks, two coming with the bases loaded from Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz.
That was more than enough help for Perez, who threw 52 pitches for strikes and also enticed 11 ground-ball outs.
“He’s pounding the strike zone and not getting caught in any patterns,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He’s got a good mound presence. He’s doing everything he’s supposed to do to be successful.”
Perez rarely ran into trouble. He retired the side in order in the first, third and fourth innings. He didn’t make it out of the seventh though as the Reds got a pair of singles to open the inning before Perez retired Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier. But he then walked Chris Heisey to load the bases. Instead of having him face the potential tying run in a 4-0 game, Washington went to Jason Frasor who got a fielder’s choice grounder from Devin Mesoraco to end the threat.
Perez would have liked to have a chance to close out the inning.
“The manager has the last decision and I can’t say anything,” Perez said. “I have to respect the decision. He (Washington) trusted me and I did a great job tonight.”
So did the defense behind him. Profar, who started at short with Elvis Andrus at designated hitter, made an Andrus-like play from the outfield grass to open the third inning. He also had one of the walks in the second inning and plated the game’s final run with an RBI single in the fifth inning.
As good as Profar was, he gave all the credit Friday to Perez.
“He was great,” Profar said. “Every pitch was working, his sinker, his changeup, his curveball. He was great tonight.”