Hamilton, Perez lift Rangers past A’s 7-2
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Josh Hamilton hit a three-run homer to cap a big fifth inning, Martin Perez won his first career start and the Texas Rangers extended their winning streak to five games, beating the Oakland Athletics 7-2 on Saturday night.
Hamilton drove in four runs to help Texas (50-29) become the first team in baseball to reach 50 victories. The Rangers have won 17 of 21 games since June 8.
Oakland committed two errors in the fifth that led to five unearned runs, including a miscue from shortstop Brandon Hicks right before Hamilton came up to bat.
The 21-year-old Perez (1-0) allowed two runs and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander gave up six hits and walked one.
Oakland’s Tommy Milone (8-6) gave up six runs – only one earned – in five innings.
Adrian Beltre hit his 14th home run of the season for Texas, which extended its lead to 6 1/2 games over the Los Angeles Angels in the American League West.
Chris Carter homered in his second straight game since being recalled from Triple-A, and Brandon Inge had an RBI single that gave the A’s a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Milone kept the high-scoring Rangers in check before his defense unraveled in the fifth.
Nelson Cruz reached on Inge’s error at third and Mike Napoli singled. Milone recorded consecutive outs without letting a run score.
Ian Kinsler lifted a bloop single just over Inge’s head to bring in two runs and push Texas ahead 3-2. Hicks then booted Elvis Andrus’ grounder to set the stage for Hamilton.
Hamilton hit a 1-0 pitch from Milone into the visiting bullpen in left-center, a three-run homer that gave the Rangers a 6-2 lead. It was his 25th of the season, equaling his total from last season. Hamilton became the fastest Rangers player to reach 25 homers, accomplishing the feat in 79 team games. The slugger added an RBI single in the seventh.
The Rangers decided to start Perez despite a rough major league debut in relief Wednesday. He allowed four runs and retired only two batters in a 13-9 victory over Detroit. He went 5-5 with a 4.59 ERA in 15 starts this season with Triple-A Round Rock.
Perez left the game to a warm ovation from the sellout crowd. Manager Ron Washington greeted his young lefty with a hug in the dugout.
Texas’ Yoshinori Tateyama and Michael Kirkman combined for 3 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen.
Notes: Washington has made his manager’s selections for the AL All-Star team. “It’s done,” he said. “It wasn’t as stressful this time around. Overall, it was smooth.” The All-Star teams for both leagues will be announced Sunday. … Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Bartolo Colon may start Tuesday after the right-hander threw a bullpen session Saturday. Colon (strained right oblique) has been on the DL since June 18. … Texas RHP Yu Darvish (10-4) takes the mound looking for his 11th victory Sunday. He will be opposed by Oakland LHP Travis Blackley (1-2).