ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Martin Perez pumped his fist and shouted — and the Texas left-hander kept on hollering as he came off the mound when he escaped a sixth-inning jam against the Los Angeles Angels.
Part of the reason for the excitement was that the 25-year-old kept calm even with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols coming to the plate in a one-run game.
Perez finally got a win after another strong May start and rookie Nomar Mazara homered in his home park for the first time, leading the Rangers to a 4-1 victory Tuesday night.
“It was probably as calm as we’ve seen him in those type of situations all year long,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “Early on in the season, those type of situations he let speed up on him and seemed to get out of control and would lose the strike zone.”
Perez (2-4) was winless for the month despite a 2.59 ERA in four starts coming in, and he dropped that number to 2.08 with six strikeouts in six shutout innings.
Run support for Perez has been among the worst in the majors. But Mazara’s seventh homer was a two-run shot into the upper deck in right field off Jhoulys Chacin (0-1) for a 3-0 lead in the sixth right after Perez escaped after putting runners on first and third with no outs.
“He’s been pitching great, just, we couldn’t score runs,” said the 21-year-old Mazara, who had his third three-hit game and reached base all four times. “But today we finally did, so pretty good for him.”
After Shane Robinson was thrown out at home trying to score on a hard grounder to Mitch Moreland at first base, Perez struck out Trout looking and walked Pujols to load the bases.
Perez finished the 31-pitch inning with a strikeout of Johnny Giavotella, who had a career-best 12-game hitting streak snapped. Perez has six quality starts in six appearances against the Angels.
“You hope first and third, nobody out, at least you’re coming out of that inning tied in the ballgame,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He made some pitches, and they made some plays on the defensive side.”
The Rangers lost the shutout bid when 30-year-old rookie reliever Matt Bush gave up his first run in his sixth outing on a run-scoring groundout by Pujols in the eighth.
Sam Dyson struck out two in a perfect ninth for his third save in three chances since becoming the closer and fifth overall this season.
WAITING FOR WORD
Rougned Odor went 0 for 4 in the leadoff spot for Texas on the day his appeal was heard in New York for an eight-game suspension for punching Toronto slugger Jose Bautista during a brawl on May 15.
Texas’ Ian Desmond, who had three hits, has multiple hits in 10 of his last 14 games. … Elvis Andrus extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a fourth-inning double that scored Mazara.
Angels: LHP C.J. Wilson (left shoulder inflammation) and 2B Cliff Pennington (strained left hamstring) will start rehab assignments with Class A Inland Empire on Wednesday. Wilson hasn’t pitched this season, and Pennington has been on the disabled list since May 13.
Rangers: Pitching coach Doug Brocail anticipates RHP Yu Darvish having a pitch limit around 90 for his first major league start Saturday since elbow surgery last year. That limit is similar to his final rehab appearance. Darvish last pitched in the majors on Aug. 9, 2014.
Angels: LHP Hector Santiago (3-2, 3.93 ERA) makes his first start since getting ejected in the third inning of a 9-4 loss to Baltimore on Friday for gesturing toward plate umpire John Tumpane. Santiago, who was upset over balls and strikes, had already given up three home runs.
Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (3-0, 2.75) has allowed four earned runs in 21 innings (1.71 ERA) over his last three starts with 17 strikeouts and one walk. He got his 100th career win in the majors and Japan combined with a 2-1 victory over Houston on Friday. He has pitched at least seven innings in a career-high five straight starts.