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September 15, 2012

Martin Perez pitches well in Rangers' 8-6 loss to Mariners

Manager Ron Washington wasn't ready to speculate whether Scott Feldman would remain in the Texas Rangers' rotation following an 8-6 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Feldman turned in his worst start of the season, lasting only 2 2/3 innings. He allowed six runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

Feldman didn't take the loss, though, as the Rangers rallied to tie the game. However, he might have lost his spot in the rotation, as Martin Perez pitched 4 1/3 innings of no-hit relief.

Feldman hasn't won since Aug. 4, and Washington has been asked frequently about Feldman staying in the rotation. And Washington usually replied with an answer along the lines of, "I have no issues with Feldman in the rotation."

After Saturday's game, though, Washington said: "That game just ended. We haven't had a chance to evaluate that yet."

Said Feldman: "Baseball overall is a game of ups and downs. I've had my fair share of ups and downs, but I just try to keep an even keel."

If the Rangers decide to make a change in the rotation, Perez is the clear candidate to slide in after Saturday.

He is the first Rangers reliever to throw at least 4 1/3 innings of no-hit ball since Mark Brandenburg had 4 2/3 no-hit innings on July 6, 1996. Perez has posted a 1.93 ERA in three relief outings since being called up on Sept. 1, and said he would have no issues going back to a starting role.

"I know I can be ready if they need me to start," Perez said. "I'm here to help the team like I did today. We were down by six runs and I came in and did my job to keep them off the board. They didn't score and that's what I had to do. Any way they want to use me, I'll be ready."

Here are a few more postgame notes:

* The Rangers lead in the American League West dropped to two games over Oakland, which beat Baltimore. That's the slimmest lead since April 13.

* Mike Napoli made quite a debut in his return from the disabled list. Napoli belted a three-run homer in the sixth inning, and went 2-for-3. 

* Nelson Cruz had his first three-hit game since Aug. 6, including a double. The double was his 59th extra-base hit this season, a career-high.

* The Rangers announced after the game that they will add right-handers Wilmer Font and Justin Grimm from Double A Frisco on Sunday. The Rough Riders lost the Texas League championship series to Springfield on Saturday.

-- Drew Davison

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