Hamilton's homer backs Perez's stellar start

Hamilton's homer backs Perez's stellar start

ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton shattered the offensive silence Sunday at Globe Life Park with a sixth-inning home run that complemented Martin Perez's dominant performance as the Texas Rangers outlasted the San Francisco Giants, 2-1.

Perez limited San Francisco, which entered the afternoon ranked second in the National League in batting, to one hit in eight innings -- Justin Maxwell's infield single with two outs in the fifth -- and exited after allowing a one-out double to Angel Pagan in the ninth.

"That was fun to do today," Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez said. "It made my life easy. Every time I called a pitch, it was just right there."

The Giants loaded the bases against Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson in the ninth and got a run on Buster Posey's RBI single before Hunter Pence hit into a game-ending double play.

Making his Giants debut after being acquired from Cincinnati in a Trade Deadline-beating deal Thursday, Mike Leake blanked Texas for five innings and appeared poised to record a scoreless sixth when Mitch Moreland singled with two outs. Up came Hamilton, who drove a 2-1 pitch inside the right-field foul screen.

"I just told him, 'Thank you for the homer,'" Perez said. "He was like, 'Why?' [I said], 'Because I needed those two runs, and I knew that we were going to win this game.'"

Perez earns first win of 2015

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Extending the inning: Hamilton hit the decisive home run, but it wouldn't have happened if not for Moreland's nifty single. Moreland lined a first-pitch sinker to center field to extend the inning and set up Hamilton's homer.

Last-chance effort: For the Giants, the ninth inning had a feeling of inevitability. They felt collectively certain they would at least force extra innings, particularly after Posey's run-scoring single. But Pence, who was ahead on the count 2-0, topped Dyson's 95 mph fastball. At some ballparks it would have been a slow grounder that Pence might have beaten out. But on this hard infield, the ball had enough pace to produce the double play.

Dyson slams the door

"I definitely don't feel great about my at-bat," Pence said. "But you have to give some credit to Dyson. He has a lot of sink. My approach was to be short to [the ball]. He beat me."

Bullpen hangs on ... barely: Rangers manager Jeff Banister made a controversial decision to pull Perez with one out and a runner on second in the ninth. He turned things over to the Rangers bullpen, which has the worst ERA in baseball. Left-hander Diekman walked Nori Aoki, and right-hander Dyson allowed two singles and an inherited run to score before making a narrow escape.

"It was a two-run ballgame," Banister said. "This is a guy [Perez] who's coming off Tommy John. We pushed the envelope with some high-stress innings with this kid. Really felt like he had gotten us to a point where we needed to get to. ... We had men out in that bullpen, and it's their job to come in and get outs."

Infield defense stands tall: Unable to support Leake with offense, the Giants helped him defensively by turning double plays in the third and fourth innings. Both came with two runners on base and one out, halting Rangers rallies before they started.

Leake gets a key double play

WHAT'S NEXT
Giants: San Francisco resumes its always-competitive series against Atlanta on Monday, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:10 p.m. PT. Giants right-hander Matt Cain (2-2) will oppose Braves righty Mike Foltynewicz.

Rangers: Colby Lewis gets the ball as the Rangers open a three-game series with the Astros on Monday at 7:05 p.m. CT. Lewis (11-4, 4.42 ERA) has seven wins since June 2, tied for the most in the American League in that span.

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. Cody Stavenhagen is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.