ARLINGTON – Martin Perez won his major league starting debut, Josh Hamilton belted his 25th home run and the Texas Rangers went on to a 7-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night at Rangers Ballpark.
With the victory, Texas has guaranteed itself of winning a seventh consecutive series, and has five straight and 16 of the last 19. The Rangers now have a 6 1/2-game lead over the Angels in the American League West.
Perez went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts. He gave up single runs in the second and fourth, but made an impression in his first big league start, leaving to a standing ovation.
Trailing 2-1 going to the bottom of the fifth, the Rangers offense put up another big inning. They scored five runs on a two-out, two-run single by Ian Kinsler and a three-run home run by Hamilton two batters later.
It was the 25th home run of the season for Hamilton, matching his total from last season. Hamilton also became the quickest player in franchise history to reach 25 home runs, needing only 79 games to get there.
Hamilton drove in another run in the seventh with an RBI single.
Yoshinori Tateyama relieved Perez in the sixth, and got the first two outs of the seventh. Michael Kirkman finished off the seventh, and closed out the game with scoreless eighth and ninth innings.
-- Drew Davison