The Texas Rangers' bats came alive and Martin Perez threw a complete game shutout as the Rangers blew out the Chicago White Sox 12-0 Friday night.
The runs were exciting, but the standout performance from Perez is what has everyone talking. For the first time in his young career, Perez threw a complete game shutout, and was the first Rangers pitcher to go all nine innings this season. Perez tied his his career-high in strikeouts, with eight, and only gave up three hits. To say the least, it was impressive.
'He was awesome' said Perez' catcher Robinson Chirinos. 'He was attacking the strike zone, he was competing, getting people out. Every time you throw the ball down the strike zone you're going to have a good result, and that's what he's been doing so far.'
It's a breakout year for Perez, who describes himself as 'not being a power pitcher', and he attributes all of his early success to becoming more comfortable on the mound. As the season progresses and he grows more comfortable, we can only imagine the success he'll continue to have.
'I have more experience' said Perez. 'And if I continue to do what I've been doing, I think this is going to be a big year for me. I just want to concentrate and prepare for my next start and throw the ball. That's all.'
Perez' performance was the star of the show, but the Rangers' bats were the award-winning supporting cast. The twelve runs scored were a season high, as were the eighteen hits.
The Rangers took an early two-run lead in the first, off RBI's from Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jim Adducci. However, it was the seven runs scored in the third -- the most any MLB team has scored in an inning this year -- that paved the way towards a Rangers' victory.
Prince Fielder, who reached base five times Friday, got hit by a pitch to start off the third inning. An Adduci single put two men on base, and with two outs, the bats exploded. Leonys Martin hit a triple, scoring Fielder and Adduci, and Chirinos took the next pitch to left field for a two-run homer. Shin-Soo Choo hit a double that was followed by an Elvis Andrus walk, and Alex Rios hit a single that would bring both guys home. Fielder came up to bat for the second time in the inning, and hit a double that would score Rios and extend the Rangers' lead to 9-0.
Leonys Martin would go on to hit a solo homer and the Rangers would tack on two more in the sixth, bringing the total to twelve.
Additionally, it was a record-setting night for Adduci and Chirinos, as they both set a career-high with three hits in a game. It was the first start of the season for Adduci, who has appeared as a pinch hitter in the past, but he says he's fine with his place on the bench.
'I know that the role that I have is to be ready to contribute at any time' Adduci said, 'so it's just a matter of when in the game that I can do it. I know that when I'm in the lineup, I'll be ready to go and that I've done everything to prepare for it'.
Another note: The three hits Chirinos had Friday night were more than the Rangers' other catcher J.P Arencibia has had all year. On top of that, Chirinos' two home runs make him the team leader in that category.
It's the fourth straight win for the Rangers, but the blowout win was something different from the walk-offs we've become accustomed to seeing. You could attribute the hits to Chicago's mediocre pitching, but maybe this Texas team is just better than we were expecting them to be.
'It's nice' said Rangers' Manager Ron Washington. 'I wish we could see this every night, but that's not possible. 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 ever since we've been able to start putting something together.'
Colby Lewis returns to the mound on Saturday for game two against the White Sox. Game time is 7:05 p.m. CT.