Rangers starting pitcher Martin Perez celebrates after defeating the Chicago White Sox.
Jim Cowsert/Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Martin Perez turned toward first base, waiting for the call he hoped was coming.
When the umpire’s arm went up signaling a strikeout on Dayan Viciedo, the young Texas Rangers left-hander pumped his fist and waited for a hug from catcher Robinson Chirinos.
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Perez pitched a three-hitter for his first career shutout, Leonys Martin drove in four runs and the Rangers routed the Chicago White Sox 12-0 Friday night.
”I just say, `Give me the strike,’ because I don’t want the walk and then maybe they take me out,” Perez said of his 109th pitch. ”So give me that strike.”
Perez has thrown 17 straight scoreless innings after he went eight in a 1-0 win over Houston. His other complete game came against the Astros, a 6-1 win last Aug. 11.
Martin, who matched his career high in RBIs, homered and was one of four Texas batters with three hits apiece. Chirinos also went deep.
Perez (3-0) retired the last 12 batters in his second complete game and struck out eight, including rookie Jose Abreu three times. Perez retired seven straight after Adam Eaton opened the game with a single and never allowed more than one baserunner in an inning.
”He did a good job getting ahead,” Chicago’s Tyler Flowers said. ”He was pounding the zone, and he would challenge us on the first or second pitch.”
Martin had a two-run triple and Chirinos hit a two-run homer on the next pitch in seven-run third inning off Felipe Paulino (0-2), who gave up 13 hits in 3 2-3 innings. Martin homered for a 10-0 lead in the fourth.
Chirinos and Jim Adduci set career highs with three hits apiece. Alex Rios also had three hits and scored each time he reached base.
Prince Fielder, who started the game at .164, reached base all five times he batted, including a run-scoring double. He also singled, walked twice – including his AL-leading seventh intentional pass, a club record for one month – and was hit by a pitch.
The Rangers had 18 hits, four better than the previous season high of 14 on opening day.
”I wish I could see this every night but I know that’s not possible,” manager Ron Washington said. ”We’re just grinding out at-bats, having good at-bats throughout the lineup and that’s what it’s going to take.”
Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez extended a franchise record by getting a hit in his 17th straight game to start the season. His soft single to right in the fifth extended his streak to 21 games going back to last season.
Kevin Kouzmanoff extended the hitting streak at the start of his Texas career to nine games with a pair of run-scoring singles.
Paulino had to endure the first seven-run inning in the majors this season with no sign of help in the third because the Chicago bullpen was just two days removed from a 6-4 loss in 14 innings against Boston.
Martin’s triple into the right-field corner brought in two, and Chirinos sent one just over the 14-foot wall in left field for a 6-0 lead. Rios had a two-run single, and Fielder brought him home with a double off Paulino, who also had a walk, a hit batter and two wild pitches in the inning.
When Kouzmanoff lined out to end the third, White Sox reliever Zach Putnam had just started warming up. Putnam replaced Paulino in the fourth after a two-out homer by Martin and Chirinos’ third hit, a single to right.
”At that point, after two nights ago, somebody’s got to buck up and wear it,” manager Robin Ventura said. ”If you get in a mess like that, you’re the guy that has to stay in and take it.”
— Washington said 3B Adrian Beltre (strained quadriceps) would likely play next Friday at Seattle, the first game after he’s eligible to come off the disabled list.
— Paulino, trying to come back from elbow ligament-replacement surgery in 2012, has allowed 35 hits and 23 earned runs in 18 1-3 innings over four starts.