ARLINGTON – Martin Perez had his shortest outing in more than six weeks, and exited with a 4-0 deficit. With the way the Texas Rangers’ offense is going of late, that deficit was tough to overcome even with a late two-out rally.
The Rangers managed three runs against Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano and four relievers, and left Rangers Ballpark with a 5-4 loss.
Texas has lost the first two games of the three-game series against Pittsburgh, and eight of its last 11. On the bright side, the A’s also lost and the Rangers remain two games back in the American League West with 18 games left.
Perez gave up a run in the third, and three more in the fifth. He got two quick outs in the fifth before giving up a double to Jordy Mercer, who went to third on a fielding error by left fielder Craig Gentry.
Andrew McCutchen then ripped an RBI single to left and, two batters later, Gaby Sanchez had an RBI single to left. A wild pitch by Perez allowed the Pirates to score another run, too, as they took a 4-0 lead.
That proved to be enough for Liriano and their bullpen.
The Rangers didn’t get on the board until the fifth inning, snapping what had become a 15-inning scoreless drought. Designated hitter Joey Butler drew a four-pitch walk to start the fifth, and scored on a two-out double by Ian Kinsler that dropped just in front of a sliding McCutchen.
The Rangers pulled to within 4-2 in the eighth. Alex Rios had a two-out double, and scored on a single by Beltre off Pirates right-hander Jason Grilli. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a double to right off lefty Tony Watson to bring the go-ahead run, Jeff Baker, to the plate.
Baker went down 0-2 in the count, fouled off three straight pitches and then struck out on a high fastball by Watson to end the threat.
Pittsburgh extended its lead to 5-2 in the ninth on McCutchen’s third RBI hit.
Texas, meanwhile, brought up the go-ahead run for a second straight inning in the ninth. With two outs against Pirates closer Mark Melancon, Leonys Martin reached on an infield single and scored on a single by Kinsler. Elvis Andrus singled through the left-side to bring up Rios as the go-ahead run, and Rios singled up the middle.
With the tying run at third and the winning run at first, though, Beltre struck out to end the game.
-- Drew Davison