ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers got another brilliant effort from 22-year-old Martin Perez, and the defense was as good as it has been this season in a 4-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
Perez dominates again: Perez produced another big effort for the Rangers on Friday night. He dominated another National League Central contender, throwing 6⅔ shutout innings at the Reds. Perez allowed six hits and walked only one, with three strikeouts. He used the combination of his fastball and changeup to get 13 ground-ball outs. He did get himself into trouble in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with two outs. Manager Ron Washington pulled Perez for reliever Jason Frasor even though the southpaw was at only 79 pitches.
Frasor shows little rust: Frasor, who hadn't pitched since June 20, threw one pitch and got Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco to ground into a fielder's choice to end the top of the seventh. Frasor had walked the only batter he faced in his previous outing. He also worked the eighth inning, getting around a leadoff double by Reds shortstop Zack Cozart.
Back-to-back shutouts: The Rangers have back-to-back shutouts after Derek Holland's two-hitter Thursday in New York and the combined work of Perez, Frasor and Robbie Ross on Friday night. The Rangers have thrown 20 consecutive scoreless innings.
Flashing the leather: The Rangers might have played their best defensive game of the season Friday night. It began with two double plays, one started by Perez, and another 5-4-3 twin killing on a nice backhand stop by Adrian Beltre and an extreme stretch at first base by Mitch Moreland as he snagged Ian Kinsler's throw from second. Shortstop Jurickson Profar also made two dazzling plays, including a backhand stop and a long one-hop throw from the outfield grass to clip Mesoraco at first base.
Second-inning workout: The Rangers made Reds pitchers Johnny Cueto and Tony Cingrani throw 42 pitches in the bottom of the second inning. The Rangers scored two runs on one hit and four walks. Cueto left the game after four pitches in the inning with a strained right lat. Cingrani entered with a 1-2 count on Moreland and struck him out on one pitch, then proceeded to walk in two runs as Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz drew bases-loaded walks.
Up next: The Rangers and Reds resume their three-game series Saturday night with a regionally televised game on Fox. Right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-6, 4.60 ERA) will face right-hander Mike Leake (7-3, 2.61) at 6:15 p.m. CT, also on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM. On Sunday, Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.95) will go up against Reds right-hander Mat Latos (7-1, 3.05) at 2:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.