Perez's gem comes unraveled in seventh

Perez's gem comes unraveled in seventh

SEATTLE -- Rangers pitcher Martin Perez held the Mariners to one run in six innings on Saturday night. He did not walk a batter and made it through six on an efficient 94 pitches.

The score was 1-1 and on a normal night, manager Jeff Banister would have declared Perez's outing a success and gone to the bullpen. He couldn't do that on Saturday. He had a limited bullpen without Tony Barnette, Matt Bush and Alex Claudio available so he tried to squeeze one more inning out of Perez.

It didn't work. The Mariners ended up scoring seven runs in the seventh and ended up with an 8-2 victory at Safeco Field.

"Yeah, if it's a fresh bullpen, you probably turn it over to the bullpen right there," Banister said. "We knew once we got into that inning, we would go hitter by hitter and if he got into any trouble, we would go to the bullpen."

Perez did get into trouble and ended up suffering his fourth straight loss even though he called it his best outing of the season. He is 1-5 with a 4.06 ERA after seven starts.

"I felt good," Perez said. "I threw a lot of strikes and my delivery and direction were good. I was feeling a lot better."

This marked the sixth time in Perez's career he has pitched at least six innings and did not walk a batter. The Rangers had won the previous five starts.

Perez allowed one run in the first and the Rangers tied it in the second on Joey Gallo's home run. Perez kept it that way with some tough pitching through six as the Mariners were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position off him.

"I thought Perez threw the ball well," Banister said. "He gave up eight hits but five were ground balls. He had 14 ground balls, one double play and 12 two-strike counts."

Most notable was striking out Ben Gamel runners at second and third with two out in the fourth. He also retired Taylor Motter on a roller back to the mound with runners at the corners and two out in the sixth.

At that point, Perez had thrown 94 pitches, four under his season high. Banister thought he could get one more inning out of him.

But Gamel, who had struck out in his first two at-bats, grounded a single up the middle to start the seventh. Tuffy Gosewisch, the Mariners No. 9 hitter, then dropped a bunt and Perez's throw to first pulled second baseman Rougned Odor off the bag.

"I got behind on the first guy and threw a fastball in the middle and he got a basehit," Perez said. "With the bunt, I got a little quick and didn't make a good throw."

That was Perez's last throw of the night. Keone Kela took over, giving up an infield single to Jean Segura and then hit Guillermo Heredia to force in the go-ahead run. Dario Alvarez took over and couldn't shut down the inning.

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