ST. LOUIS — Martin Perez allowed two runs in seven strong innings Saturday night, and A.J. Pierzynski and Nelson Cruz swatted two-run homers off Shelby Miller as the Rangers beat the Cardinals 4-2.
The effort by Perez (1-1) was the finest in his brief career. After allowing single runs in the first and second innings, he worked five scoreless frames and retired the final 10 batters he faced.
He needed only 82 pitches to finish seven innings.
St. Louis managed only five hits against Perez, and four of those were singles. Two came in the first as the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead, and David Freese started the second with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Shane Robinson for a 2-2 tie.
Pierzynski homered in the second after Adrian Beltre had opened with a double, and Cruz connected an inning later with Ian Kinsler aboard. The Rangers chased Miller, from Brownwood, after 5 2/3 innings with the bases loaded, but Kinsler bounced out to end the threat.
The Cardinals threatened in the eighth against Tanner Scheppers, collecting two one-out singles to put runners at first and third, but Matt Holliday bounced into a double play to end the inning.
Joe Nathan, working on a third straight day, closed out Perez’s second career victory with a perfect ninth inning.
-- Jeff Wilson