Rangers inch closer to contention with win over Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister has some recommended viewing for left-handed pitcher Martin Perez when the team continues its road trip this weekend in Oakland.
Perez threw seven shutout innings Thursday night to help the Rangers move within a game of the second American League wild-card spot with a 3-0 victory against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium.
“When (Perez) looks back and watches video of his starts, he needs to look at this one and really pay attention to what he did,” Banister said.
Drew Robinson and Mike Napoli homered in support of Perez, a left-hander who came in with a 5.26 ERA in 24 starts this season. Perez (9-10) allowed seven hits, struck out three and did not walk a batter while throwing 73 of 99 pitches for strikes.
“They’re an aggressive team, and I know that I have to throw the ball down because they’re going to swing,” Perez said. “When I stay down and I throw a lot of pitches for strikes, I get good outings.”
The Angels remain a half-game behind the Minnesota Twins for the second AL wild card, tied with the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Mariners.
“Definitely playoff baseball,” Robinson said. “It makes it a lot more fun too, especially when you can come in and get three wins (in the four-game series), so it’s big for us and hopefully we can build on it.”
After the Angels pressured Perez early in the game, he retired 10 in a row and 12 of 13 during the middle innings.
“We just had some points in the game where we didn’t square the ball up,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Give Perez some credit, he made some pitches when he had to.”
The first two batters reached base in the eighth off reliever Jason Grilli, who escaped the jam, and the Angels finished 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
“We had two guys on and had some guys we wanted up there,” Scioscia said of the eighth inning. “(Grilli) made some pitches. Sometimes you have to tip your cap.”
Ricky Rodriguez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first career save.
Capturing the series against a wild-card rival was “huge” for the Rangers, according to Banister.
“Especially against a team that’s in front of us,” he said. “To come in their ballpark, get three out of four. ... We’ve had our struggles on the road.”
Angels right-hander Troy Scribner, called up from Triple-A Salt Lake for the start, took the loss. The 26-year-old right-hander replaced JC Ramirez, the team leader with 11 wins who experienced pain in his right elbow following his start Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.
Scribner (2-1) surrendered the two home runs that provided the Rangers a 3-0 lead. He went five innings, allowing three runs on three hits, striking out six and walking two.
“Even though there weren’t many hits, he lost a lot of counts,” Scioscia said.
Brett Nicholas doubled just inside the right field line with one out in the third for Texas’ first hit. Robinson, hitting in the No. 9 spot, then lifted an 0-1 pitch deep into the seats in right-center for a 2-0 lead, his fourth home run of the season.
Napoli followed with a solo home run with one out in the fourth. It was his 27th home run of the season and 13th at Angel Stadium since he was traded by Los Angeles following the 2010 season.
NOTES: The Rangers moved RHP Tyson Ross to the bullpen. Ross (3-3, 7.04 ERA) made his most recent start in a 10-1 loss to the Angels on Tuesday, giving up three runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings, the seventh consecutive outing he failed to last at least six innings. ... RHP Nick Martinez is expected to start in Ross’ place at Oakland on Friday. Martinez (3-4, 5.38 ERA) last pitched for the Rangers on Aug. 6, allowing five runs and five hits in four innings of 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins. ... Los Angeles RHP Troy Scribner and Ross each have a brother who plays in the major leagues, two of five sets of brothers who have played in the big leagues this season. ... The Angels start a three-game series with the visiting Houston Astros on Friday.