Perez puzzles Halos with 6th-inning escape

Rangers lefty whiffs Trout, Giavotella in pivotal moment

Perez puzzles Halos with 6th-inning escape

ARLINGTON -- Rangers left-hander Martin Perez was terrific for five innings on Tuesday night, holding the Angels scoreless on three singles and a walk.

He almost let that effort go to waste when he ran into trouble in the sixth while holding a 1-0 lead. But Perez's ability to stay cool against the Angels' best hitters proved to be the pivotal moment in the Rangers' 4-1 victory at Globe Life Park.

"It was probably as calm as we've seen him in those situations all year," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He's been building on that. Early on in the season, those types of situations he let speed up on him and seemed to get out of control and would lose the strike zone. He continued to challenge the strike zone and challenge the hitters."

The inning started with Shane Robinson, the Angels' No. 9 hitter, and Yunel Escobar both hitting singles up the middle to put runners on the corners. Up next were Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, and Banister started getting right-hander Tony Barnette ready in the bullpen.

Banister stayed with Perez.

"I didn't try to think too much," Perez said. "Just throw the ball where I wanted it and keep it down."

Calhoun worked the count full and hit a sharper bouncer to Mitch Moreland, who was holding Escobar at first base. Moreland went home with the throw and caught Robinson trying to score. The Angels were left with runners on first and second.

"Two different things could have happened," Moreland said. "It was a tailor-made double play. I could have easily gotten the double play. I just felt like with the way the game was going and two pitchers really on, especially Martin, if I could get that out, I would take our chances with Martin."

Moreland saves a run

Perez said the out at home made him more determined to get out of the inning, but he still had to get through Trout and Pujols.

"What he did was very impressive," catcher Bryan Holaday said. "You could tell he was in control. He wasn't too amped. He held his composure and got through it."

Trout had walked and struck out in his two previous plate appearances. Perez went after him and struck him out on four pitches as Trout looked at a slider for strike three.

"I threw my best slider," Perez said.

Perez freezes Trout

Perez passed on Pujols, walking him on four pitches.

"We weren't pitching around him but we weren't going to lay one in there and see how far he could hit it," Holaday said. "We tried to make quality pitches and not let him beat us."

Barnette was still warming, but Banister stayed with Perez.

"His pitches were still sharp, and he was throwing strikes," Banister said. "We wanted to give him the opportunity to grind through it. He was our guy."

Perez, with his fastball registering at 96 mph, rewarded Banister's confidence by striking out Johnny Giavotella to end the inning.

Perez gets soaked

"That's the firmest we've seen him," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He threw the ball hard, used his changeup well, and he was throwing strikes early on. Got away from it a little bit in the sixth inning, but he pitched a strong game for those guys.

"You hope that with first and third, nobody out, at least you're coming out of that inning tying the ballgame. But he made some pitches, and they made some plays on the defensive side. Nice throw home, good tag. And he made some tough pitches to Johnny to get out of that bases-loaded jam."

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.