ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Despite feeling a blister developing on the inside of his left foot during the fifth inning Monday night, Martin Perez pushed through the discomfort to produce his second consecutive quality start and guide the Texas Rangers to a 5-2 victory against the Los Angeles Angels.
Perez opted not to put on his left shoe as he spoke to reporters in the clubhouse afterward, the skin having peeled due to pitching on what he called a "hard mound" at Angel Stadium.
"It happens sometimes and you definitely feel it, but all you want to do is put up zeroes," Perez said. "The adrenaline won't let you think about the pain."
Perez excelled in his second straight outing against the Angels, setting career highs in strikeouts (seven) and pitches thrown (111) to earn his first win since July 9. He has allowed only three runs and eight hits in 13 2/3 innings since a disappointing start in Cleveland on July 26, when he was tagged for seven runs.
"He's certainly been under more control and hasn't let the game get too quick on him," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's been executing his pitches and getting ahead of hitters early in the game. He's been able to throw that changeup for strikes."
Five of the last six outs Martin recorded were by way of strikeout -- all swinging. He became the first Rangers pitcher to throw at least 6 1/3 innings and surrender no more than four hits in back-to-back starts against the Angels since Kenny Rogers did it in 1993-94.
"There's a lot of upside there," Washington said. "When he starts learning the league better, he's got enough pitches to be effective. He does have a changeup and he can throw it at any time in any count for strikes."
Perez struck out Mike Trout to end the fifth inning, Josh Hamilton to end the six and got an important punch-out of Chris Iannetta before loading the bases with a walk to J.B. Shuck. He was pulled for Jason Frasor, who got Collin Cowgill to ground into a forceout before intentionally walking Trout and getting Kole Calhoun to fly out to right.
"A little emotion," Perez said of his seventh-inning exit. "I wanted to make it my zero, but I couldn't and I had guys behind me supporting me. The most important thing is that we won.
“I have to slow down in that situation. I'm still learning. I'll do better next time."