ARLINGTON – Martin Perez looked forward to facing his idol and fellow countryman Felix Hernandez on Saturday night. The rookie knew he had his work cut out going against a former Cy Young winner, too.
Or so it seemed.
Perez out-pitched Hernandez on this night, working into the eighth inning while his idol only lasted five. And, it was in their half of the eighth, that the Rangers blew what had been a close game wide open with eight runs and ran away for a 15-3 victory at Rangers Ballpark.
The 15 runs, remarkably scored without a home run on the night, were a season high for the team, and more than double what the Dallas Cowboys put up in their preseason game earlier in the day. Texas, which has won 10 of its last 12, will remain at least a ½ game up on Oakland in the American League West.
The No. 9 hole for the Rangers drove in five runs on the night, and the lead grew big enough in the eight-run eighth that Adam Rosales made his debut with the team as a pinch-hitter.
The Rangers had a five-run second inning against Hernandez earlier in the game, highlighted by a two-run double by No. 9 batter David Murphy.
Perez gave up single runs the first three innings, but then strung together four scoreless innings. His night ended when Brad Miller singled to start the eighth, but Neal Cotts got out of that jam for him.
The offense, meanwhile, had cushioned its lead on a two-out, two-run double by Craig Gentry -- pinch-hitting for Murphy -- in the seventh inning before breaking it open in the eighth.
Perez is 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA over his last four starts. Hernandez, on the other hand, took the loss and is now 0-3 with a 5.55 ERA in four starts against the Rangers. He has lost 19 of his 38 career starts against them.-- Drew Davison