The Rangers got their first series sweep of the A’s since August 12, 2011 in Oakland when they shut them out 3-0 behind a complete game from Martin Perez. It was his second shutout victory as Texas moved into first place in the American League.
“They just beat us,” said manager Bob Melvin. “You’ve got to give them credit, they deserved to win.”
The Rangers wasted no time in getting on board, Alex Rios RBI triple scored in Michael Choice who led off the game with a walk. But a challenge by Melvin helped contain Texas offense following a play at home plate.
Prince Fielder reached first on a fielder’s choice, shortstop Jed Lowrie threw to catcher Derek Norris for the out at home. The home plate umpire, Larry Vanover called Rios safe. The play was under review and the call was overturned and the Rangers lead remained 1-0 top of the first inning.
“I thought I was safe,” Rios said. “I don’t really understand the rule? You can’t block the plate but you can… But the reply play got me out.”
Sonny Gray on the other hand, escaped the inning with just one run scored thanks to the replay overturn. Gray rebounded well and struck out side in the second. He worked around Nick Punto’s error in the third and fanned eight through seven innings.
“He fought his way through the game, which happens often,” said Melvin. “And with us scoring zero runs, he didn’t have a chance.”
Perez extended his scoreless inning streak to a career-high 26.0 innings. He is the first Texas pitcher with more than two consecutive scoreless starts in a season since Kenny Rogers tossed four consecutive scoreless starts April 27 – May 14, 2005.
“Everything worked for me today,” Perez said. “Execution, good tempo, secure the pitch and keep the ball above ground. That is what worked for me. I was very satisfied with my command, strikes are a big thing in this game and I did well.”
“He [Martin Perez] kept the ball of the bat and that’s how he was able to stay in the game for so long,” said Melvin. “He’s pitching no strikes and has done well thus far this season.”
The Rangers at-bats were not quiet, Leonys Martin beat out his infield single in the fourth. Josh Wilson’s sacrifice fly moved him to second and Choice’s RBI single scored in Texas second run. Choice has reached base in 6 to 8 plate appearances the past two days against his former team.
Another former player also put a hurting on his old team. Donnie Murphy blasted a solo home run to right field giving the Rangers a 3-0 lead. The A’s were shutout for the second time this season and got swept in a home series for the first time since September 3-5, 2012 against the Los Angeles Angels.
“No big significance on sweeping the A’s,” manager Ron Washington said. “We’ll see them again…”