Perez promises 'consistency' going forward

Starter begins shaky, but records 7 IP in longest start of season

Perez promises 'consistency' going forward

OAKLAND -- Martin Perez had his longest outing of the season on Wednesday when he went seven innings against the A's. His other storylines were familiar in the 8-1 loss to Oakland.

The Rangers still can't muster any run support for him, he still had a couple of ill-timed walks that cost him and he is still looking for his first win on the road this year.

Perez gave up three runs in the first inning, and the Rangers never recovered against A's starter Rich Hill. Texas ended up getting swept in the three-game series. Perez allowed three singles in the first inning, but there were also two walks. They were the only walks he allowed on the day.

"The whole nemesis for him has been that one inning, and today it showed up in the first," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Location of pitches, deep counts, obviously high pitch count, all in the first and going down three [runs]. After that, he pitched well, threw strikes and mixed his pitches."

Perez is now 1-4 with a 3.48 ERA, including 0-3 with a 4.20 ERA in five starts on the road.

"The first inning, I couldn't find my rhythm," Perez said. "I didn't really feel my [left] leg in the first inning. After that I figured out what I was doing wrong and made the adjustment.

"I need to be consistent in every inning. In those situations, you have to fight through it and hold them."

The Rangers couldn't close the deficit as they managed just one infield hit through five innings against Hill. They scored their only run in the sixth when Ian Desmond singled with one out, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Prince Fielder.

"It's never easy, but that's why we are professionals," Desmond said. "We have to do a better job of putting runs on the board for our pitcher."

The Rangers are now averaging 2.15 runs per nine innings when Perez is on the mound, the second lowest in the American League. The lowest average for a Rangers pitcher since 1974 is Bert Blyleven at 2.36 in 1976. Yovani Gallardo had the lowest on the Rangers last year at 4.05.

"I don't need to worry about that," Perez said. "My job is to pitch more than five innings and keep my team in the game."

Perez was strong after the first inning. He did not walk a batter, and the only subsequent run he yielded came on another home run by Khris Davis. The rest of the damage came in the eighth inning against the Rangers bullpen.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. 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.