ARLINGTON, TEXAS (AP)–That impressive scoreless streak for Texas Rangers lefty Martin Perez ended quickly.
AL West-leading Oakland scored twice in the first off Perez, who had thrown 26 consecutive scoreless innings his previous three starts. The Athletics never trailed in their 9-3 victory Tuesday night.
When former teammate Craig Gentry led off the second with a triple, the A’s already had three hits. That matched what Perez had allowed in each of his previous two starts while throwing three-hit shutouts, including six days earlier in Oakland.
“I think my two-seam always just stayed up and I missed a lot of pitches in the zone, up in the zone and they got a hit,” Perez said. “They looked more aggressive tonight and like I said, a couple of pitches up. And when I got the ball down I got a couple of good outs.”
Derek Norris drove in three runs with a pair of doubles and Scott Kazmir (4-0) made it through five innings to match the American League lead with his fourth win.
The A’s went ahead to stay on Norris’ two-run double. When Norris added an RBI double to make it 4-0 in the third, the A’s already had six hits off Perez (4-1), who started the night with an AL-best 1.42 ERA.
“We just had to get the ball up in the zone. He’s a great groundball pitcher, he gets a lot of double plays,” Norris said. “He was living down there in the zone, and we weren’t biting on it and he had to elevate to get the strikes. … When he got in a situation with runners on, we cashed in some runs.”
Kazmir (4-0) needed 95 pitches to get through five innings, but left with a 9-3 lead after giving up seven hits. The lefty struck out four and walked one.
The eight runs allowed by Perez were two more than his combined total in his first five starts, and his ERA more than doubled to 2.95. He struck out three and walked three in 4 2-3 innings.
“Well, he missed a lot of spots tonight, and when he missed it was in the middle of the plate and it was up,” manager Ron Washington said. “Previous, everything he threw he put it where he wanted to. When he missed his spot, it was in the middle of the plate. They hit mistakes very well.”
Oakland, swept in three games at home by the Rangers last week, has won the first two games in this series that started with the two teams tied atop the AL West.
At 17-10, the A’s have the best record in the American League. Texas has its first three-game losing streak this season.
After Gentry tripled, he scored on a groundout by Josh Reddick, who added a two-run single in Oakland’s five-run outburst in the fifth.
“They were taking those low pitches, forcing him to bring the ball a little up in the strike zone,” catcher Robinson Chirinos said. “They put a good swing on everything he was throwing the ball up in the strike zone. I think that was the difference between last week and today.”
Perez was gone after issuing a bases-loaded walk to Alberto Callaspo in the fifth. Pinch-hitter Brandon Moss then drew a bases-loaded walk on an eight-pitch at-bat against reliever Jason Frasor before Reddick’s single made it 9-1.
Alex Rios had an RBI double for Texas in the fourth, but was thrown out trying to come home on a ground ball. After the Rangers had consecutive singles to start the fifth, Elvis Andrus sent home a run on a groundout and Prince Fielder had an RBI single.
NOTES: It was Texas manager Ron Washington’s 62nd birthday. The Rangers are 0-6 in games on his birthday. … Kazmir’s ERA rose to 2.11 after he entered at 1.62, third-best in the AL. … Oakland is 11-4 on the road, best in the AL. … Perez’s scoreless streak was the fifth-longest for a Rangers starter. … There was delay of 1 minute, 38 seconds in the fifth for Washington’s challenge after first-base umpire Laz Diaz ruled a foul ball on Andrus’ liner down the right-field line just past the infield dirt. The call stood after replay, meaning there was no clear or convincing evidence to overturn it.
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