Rangers inch closer to contention with win over Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Martin Perez threw seven shutout innings, and the Texas Rangers moved within a game of the second American League wild-card spot with a 3-0 victory against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night at Angel Stadium.
Drew Robinson and Mike Napoli homered in support of Perez, a left-hander who came in with a 5.26 ERA in 24 starts this season. Perez (9-10) allowed seven hits, struck out three and did not walk a batter while throwing 73 of 99 pitches for strikes.
The Angels remain a half-game behind the Minnesota Twins for the second AL wild card, tied with the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Mariners.
After the Angels pressured Perez early in the game, he retired 10 in a row and 12 of 13 during the middle innings. The first two batters reached base in the eighth off reliever Jason Grilli, who escaped the jam, and the Angels finished 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position on the night.
Ricky Rodriguez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first career save.
The Rangers took three of four in the series.
Angels right-hander Troy Scribner, called up from Triple-A Salt Lake for the start, took the loss. The 26-year-old right-hander replaced JC Ramirez, the team leader with 11 wins, who experienced pain in his right elbow following his start Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.
Scribner (2-1) surrendered the two home runs that provided the Rangers a 3-0 lead. He went five innings, allowing three runs on three hits, striking out six and walking two.
Brett Nicholas doubled just inside the right field line with one out in the third for Texas' first hit. Robinson, hitting in the No. 9 spot, then lifted an 0-1 pitch deep into the seats in right-center for a 2-0 lead, his fourth home run of the season.
Napoli followed with a solo home run with one out in the fourth. It was his 27th home run of the season and 13th at Angel Stadium since he was traded by Los Angeles following the 2010 season.
Napoli came in with a 1.069 on-base-plus-slugging percentage at Angel Stadium, the highest by an opponent with at least 100 plate appearances.
NOTES: The Rangers moved RHP Tyson Ross to the bullpen. Ross (3-3, 7.04 ERA) made his most recent start in a 10-1 loss to the Angels on Tuesday, giving up three earned runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings, the seventh consecutive outing he failed to last at least six innings. ... RHP Nick Martinez is expected to start in Ross' place at Oakland on Friday. Martinez (3-4, 5.38 ERA) last pitched for the Rangers on Aug. 6, allowing five runs and five hits in four innings of 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins. ... Los Angeles RHP Troy Scribner and Ross each have a brother who plays in the major leagues, two of five sets of brothers who have played in the big leagues this season.