Martinez outdueled in first defeat of 2015

Righty allows three earned runs or fewer for 16th straight start, a Rangers record

Martinez outdueled in first defeat of 2015

ARLINGTON -- Nick Martinez took his first loss of the season on Thursday night. It took a superb performance by the opposing pitcher to bring his winning streak to a halt.

Martinez was pretty good, but not good enough to match Red Sox rookie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez in a 5-1 loss. Martinez is now 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA after 10 starts.

Martinez went seven innings and threw a career-high 112 pitches. He allowed two runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out five. The Rangers helped him out by turning three double plays behind him -- five overall on the night -- and Martinez also picked a runner off first base.

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"That's Nick ... he pitches to contact," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Early on, I thought his breaking ball was a challenge to get it where he wanted it. It was low on occasion. Overall, I felt like Nick threw the ball well. He moved it around. He did the same things he has done in previous starts. We just didn't help him out."

Martinez wasn't happy with his tempo.

"My tempo was a little too slow," Martinez said. "It was a lot better the last two innings, but it was a little slow the first five innings."

Martinez also had trouble containing the leadoff hitter, as four reached base in the first six innings. Martinez managed to keep the Red Sox from scoring in the first and second, but it finally caught up to him in the fifth.

Blake Swihart, with the game still scoreless, led off the fifth with a base hit and scored after a pair of one-out singles by Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts. In the sixth, Hanley Ramirez led off the inning with a home run to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.

Martinez ended up with his 16th straight start of allowing three earned runs or fewer. That's the longest such streak in Rangers history, but this one came in a losing effort.

"It was just one of those days," Martinez said. "I've got to keep battling and keep working. I felt good, my tempo was just a little slow. I have to do a better job with the pace of game."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.