Rangers’ rookie right-hander Nick Martinez took a perfect game into this sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Saturday, but the Rangers lost 3-2 in extra innings on a Howie Kendrick double that brought home Josh Hamilton.
Neal Cotts allowed the leadoff single to Hamilton, and was pulled in favor of Jason Frasor with no outs in the bottom of the tenth. Frasor battled with Kendrick for six pitches, before giving up the RBI double to left-center on a slider. As Hamilton was Cotts’ responsibility, the run broke his 17-inning, 19-game scoreless against the Angels’ offense.
Martinez had faced and retired 15 hitters before giving up an opposite field double to Hank Conger to start the bottom of the sixth. The one-run lead Martinez began his night with was the same lead he would keep until a Efren Navarro groundout scored Conger from third later in the sixth inning. A strikeout of Kole Calhoun, Martinez’s third of the night, would end the inning one batter later.
The Rangers opened the scoring against Angels’ starter Jered Weaver in the top of the first, tallying a run off a Leonys Martin double and a Shin-Soo Choo RBI ground out. Alex Rios started the second a similar way, doubling to lead off, and advancing to third on a ground ball, but Robinson Chirinos and Michael Choice were unable to bring home the man in scoring position, a problem Texas has struggled with all season. In the top of the fifth, Choice and Rougned Odor were stranded at second and third when Martin struck out swinging, the Rangers’ first runners in scoring position since the top of the second.
Martinez didn’t walk a batter until the bottom of the seventh, when Josh Hamilton worked a free pass with two outs, but he finished the inning quickly by inducing a groundout to third from Howie Kendrick.
Leonys Martin walked in the top of the eighth and stole second off Jered Weaver and Hank Conger, but was stranded by an Elvis Andrus pop-out. His steal was the Rangers’ sixth in their past two games against the Angels.
C.J. Cron began the bottom of the eighth with a homer off Nick Martinez, giving the Angels their first lead of the game. After a Conger single, Neal Cotts came on in relief of Martinez with no outs and one on. This was Martinez’s longest outing of his major league career, finishing the night with 7.0 innings pitched, three hits and two earned runs allowed. He struck out three and walked one, but left unable to pick up his second win of the year.
Cotts finished off the eighth, getting David Freese to line out to short, Efren Navarro to ground into a force-out, and then picked off Navarro for the final out of the innings.
Choo led off the ninth for the Rangers, and hit Angels’ reliever Kevin Jepsen’s second pitch 396 feet to center to tie the game back up at two. None of the following Rangers were able to take the lead off Jepsen, and Joakim Soria was called upon to keep Texas alive through the bottom of the ninth.
Cotts came back out for the ninth, and pitched a three-batter inning, extending his scoreless streak against the Angels to 17 innings across 19 appearances, a streak that would be ended in the next inning.
The game would go to extras, with Robinson Chirinos leading off the top of the 10th for the Rangers against Mike Morin. Chirinos struck out looking, and Michael Choice was ejected for arguing after striking out looking. Rougned Odor got on base for the third time tonight after being hit by Morin, but Leonys Martin struck out swinging to end the inning.
Rios, the Rangers’ designated hitter, was ejected by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza between the top and the bottom of the fourth for arguing a called strike, and was replaced by Donnie Murphy.
The Rangers face the Angels for the final game of the series and the road trip tomorrow at 7:07 central time. Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.39 ERA) will look to recover from his last start, while the bats will face Angels’ rookie Matt Shoemaker (4-1, 3.83 ERA).