The Rangers won their first series sweep and Martin Perez extended his scoreless inning streak to 26, as the Rangers defeated the Oakland A’s 3-0.
It was another standout game for Perez, as the 23 year old threw his second straight complete game shutout. Any concerns that there may have been about Perez were erased, as a team full of good hitters, struggled to even get the ball out of the infield.
“What a pitcher” said manager Ron Washington. “He did a great job against a great hitting team. They are very aggressive, they know how to sit on pitches, they know how to take advantage of patterns if you’ve got them, and he stayed out of patterns. He kept the ball down, he gave them nothing in the middle of the plate to hit, he did a wonderful job and we finished them off.”
Perez often found himself behind in the count, but was able to work back up and get a groundout, something he's become to be known for. Though a handful of A’s reached first base, only Josh Donaldson reached second, with a double in the seventh. Perez’ ability to fight the count and get double plays, is a large part of the reason he’s been so successful this season.
“When I was behind, I just tried to throw my sinker away” said Perez. “You know, just tried to throw the ball down and they’d swing because they want to hit. That happens when the hitters try to get on, you just throw the ball, they try to hit and you get quick outs.”
And with Perez on the mound, you’re going to get those quick outs. It’s entertaining for everyone watching the game, but according to Perez’ teammates, it’s entertaining for them too.
“He’s making it look easy” said second baseman Donnie Murphy. “You know, it’s never easy but right now, he’s making it look really easy. When you watch him pitch, he goes out there with a fast tempo and it’s fun to play defense. Definitely enjoying watching him right now. It seems like every time a guy gets on first base we always get a ground ball with him.”
The Rangers offense was as productive as they needed to be with Perez on the mound, as the three runs they scored off Oakland starting pitcher Sonny Gray were enough to earn the Rangers a sweep, and hand Gray his first loss of the year.
Michael Choice walked to lead off the game for the second consecutive day, and came home as a RBI triple from Alex Rios allowed the Rangers to take the early lead. The Rangers were able to jump to a 2-0 lead in the fifth after Choice once again found base, this time with a RBI single, and Leonys Martin rounded the bases. In the sixth, Murphy hit his first home run of the year, as the Rangers took the 3-0 lead.
With today’s win, the Rangers move to first place in the West Division, and they did it with eleven players on the DL. Additionally, the Rangers now have an 8-2 record against teams in their division, and have made it clear that they’re here to compete, and they’re here to win.
“You know, we knew we had to come in here and take care of business” said Murphy. “We played some good small ball, we pitched ball, everything went our way and it was nice to come out of here with the sweep for sure.”
If the Rangers manager Wash has made one thing clear over and over again this year though, it’s that this team will never settle with a win. Baseball is baseball to Wash, and it’s something you’ve got to take day by day.
“I just look at it as we swept the series against Oakland, to be happy for today. But I want to be happy against Seattle. I want to be happy against Oakland when we get back. There are still games left to be played. Yes we are pleased that we got three games in here, but we’ve got to continue to play baseball.”
The Rangers have a day off tomorrow, before beginning a weekend series in Seattle on Friday. Game time is slated for 9:10 p.m. CT.