ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Nomar Mazara became the youngest player in the major leagues when he debuted Sunday for the Texas Rangers.
He handled Angels veteran Jered Weaver like a seasoned pro.
The 20-year-old Mazara homered and got two singles off Weaver, but the Rangers lost to Los Angeles 3-1 to settle for a split in the four-game series.
“It was an incredible debut for a guy who’s extremely young for the major league level, and an incredible weekend for him,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Mazara was called up to replace injured outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and went 3 for 4. He spent most of last season with Double-A Frisco and has played just 23 games at Triple-A, including three this season.
“Last night, he got three hits with a home run in Triple-A, and today he … comes up to the big leagues and gets three hits with a home run here,” Banister said. “Those are special days. I know it’s one that he’ll remember, and we’ll all remember it.”
Mazara batted second in the order, singling to right-center in the first and getting another hit to right in the third.
In the fifth, he smacked a first-pitch drive over the center field trees to cut the Rangers’ deficit to 2-1 and become the eighth Ranger to homer in his first big league game.
“I knew nothing really about him, except that he kind of had a long swing,” Weaver said. “He had a good approach today. It took me more than three at-bats to figure him out. He did a good job of keeping his hands back and dunked a couple in. The fastball in to him (on the home run) was not a bad pitch. He just did a good job of getting his hands inside of it and put a good swing on it.”
Texas left-hander Martin Perez (0-1) was charged with three runs, seven hits and a career-worst five walks in 6 1/3 innings. Two of the hits were on line-drive singles off his body by Andrelton Simmons in the second and Yunel Escobar in the fifth.
Johnny Giavotella scored the game’s first run in the third inning on Mike Trout’s broken-bat groundout — his first RBI of the season. Albert Pujols followed with an RBI single.
Perez hit a batter with his 102nd and final pitch, loading the bases for Trout, who hit a sacrifice fly against Tony Barnette.
“I thought his stuff was good,” Banister said of Perez. “… But today, it was the five walks and the hit batter — the freebies that we’ve got to cut down on.”
Weaver (1-0) allowed a run and six hits over six innings and struck out four, improving to 11-0 with a 2.22 ERA in 18 career starts against the Rangers at Angel Stadium.
The Rangers put two men on base in three of the first four innings, helping run Weaver’s pitch count up to 64. In the fourth, the three-time All-Star struck out Bryan Holaday with runners on second and third.
“It’s kind of tough facing Jered. He’s not what you see on an everyday basis for our hitters,” Banister said. “He’s been challenging for us in the past. Today we had limited opportunities and didn’t capitalize on them. It’s almost like facing a knuckleballer at times. You know the velocity is not there, but he makes his pitches.”
Fernando Salas and Joe Smith each pitched a scoreless inning and Huston Street worked a perfect ninth for his first save.
Rangers: Choo was placed on the 15-day disabled list after straining a calf muscle while running on the wet outfield grass after batting practice on Saturday. He is expected to be out at least four to six weeks. … C Robinson Chirinos was placed on the 60-day DL because of a broken right forearm and is expected to be sidelined approximately 10 to 12 weeks.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (0-0) opposes Hisashi Iwakuma on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at Seattle.
Angels: RHP Nick Tropeano makes his season debut Monday night against Sonny Gray in the opener of a three-game set at Oakland. Tropeano was recalled on Thursday from Triple-A Salt Lake after LHP Andrew Heaney went on the DL with a flexor muscle strain.