HUSTAN (AP) – When manager Chris Woodward came out on the mound with two outs and two in the ninth inning, Texas Rangers starter Martin Perez didn’t worry about withdrawing.
“He just told me, ‘You got it.’ And I said, “Yeah, I get it,” Perez said.
Perez performed for the first time since 2014, scoring seven singles games when the Rangers defeated Houston 3-0 on Friday night, ending the Astros series of nine games.
It was the first full game for Texas after Kyle Gibson defeated Astros 1-0 on September 16, 2020.
“In an era, watch the numbers, stick to it, you watch your mind,” Woodward said. “Something special could have happened there. It may or may not be true, you never know. It’s life, but at the same time I trusted Martin to make there innings. He did.”
Perez (3-2) scored five, passed one and threw 108 pitches. The left-hander has won his third start in a row and has a 1.64 ERA in eight outings this season.
“Throw blows,” Perez said of what he did differently this year. “I’m not 21; I’m not 22. I’m 31 and I’ve learned a lot from a lot of guys … Now I understand how hard it is to hit the ball, so drop your innings. Throw the field where you want, and it’s not easy. The hardest thing about baseball is hitting the ball, and when you go out and throw the field where you want, good things happen. “
Perez last hit the ball against Auckland on April 23, 2014. He spent his first seven seasons in Texas and later played for Minnesota and Boston before returning to Rangers this year.
“When you’re young, you try too many things, and sometimes you just want to go outside and rush hard,” Perez said. “It’s not how hard you throw. It’s important how you mix your innings and where you throw the ball.”
Perez walked away with 12 of the first 14 bouncers he faced before Jeremy Peña received Houston’s first hit in the fifth with a two-out single.
With two outings in Houston, the ninth, Alex Bragman and Kyle Tucker stood out. But Perez forced Julia Guriel to fly to the left field to put an end.
“It’s his game,” Woodward said. “That’s how I look at it. He came out of Gurriel. It was the fourth time he had faced him, but he deserves the opportunity. Things like that don’t happen very often – a full game.
“Maybe all the analysts will tell you to pick him up right away, but he was so good to us. In a short amount of time he built up a lot of trust with me, so I felt obligated to him to leave him there.”
The Rangers broke a 11-game losing streak with Astros in Houston, winning the Minute Made Park for the first time since Sept. 16, 2020.
“He played a good game against us,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “He kept the ball down. He cut some. He dropped the others, creating a double play, and he had a really good change. He didn’t use his break ball often, but he broke the plate. He could fall.”
Cole Calhoun put the Rangers ahead 1-0 in the fourth, making a home run.
In the eighth “Rangers” held two more runs. Mitch Harver scored a goal in a misplaced shot for third place by raffler Rafael Montero in an attempt by Eli White. After two bounces Marcus Semen added the RBI single.
Christian Javier (2-2) made one series of three hits with a career-high result, nine outs in six innings. Javier bounced well after being noted for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in his last match against the national team on Saturday.
“Improving his placement because he fell behind in the last (game),” Baker said. “He was throwing this tall fastball (in the last game) but he was too tall. This time he was in the hit zone. He was throwing the ball well. … He was awesome tonight.”
Astros: RHP Jake Odarizzi, who was on the injured list on Tuesday, played in the catch before the game on Friday. Adaric was not in the boot four days after injuring his left leg and falling to the ground.
Rangers recalled Rick Snyder’s RHP from Triple-A Round Rock and selected Josh Sborz’s RHP in Round Rock.
Houston RHP Justin Verlander (5-1, 1.38 ERA) will be looking for his sixth straight win when he starts Saturday against Texas RHP’s John Gray (1-1, 5.73).