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Perez continues his stellar performance

4/23/2014

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Texas Rangers left-hander Martin Perez had just pitched his second straight shutout Wednesday, extending his streak of scoreless innings to 26 in a 3-0 victory against the Oakland Athletics.

Time to celebrate?

"No," Perez said. "I feel great. My second [straight] complete game, but I want to celebrate more when we get a championship, a World Series championship. That's my goal."

Perez was certainly in championship form again against the A's, improving to 4-0 as the Rangers completed a three-game sweep of the two-time defending American League West champions and moved past them into first place.

Perez gave up only three hits -- two singles and Josh Donaldson's one-out double in the eighth. No A's player got past second base.

"He has weapons and he can throw them all for strikes and he has poise," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Perez. "He does a great job of staying with the game plan and that's something that he's learned from last year, how to study, how to go out there and just execute his pitches. That's what he did today.

"He executed his pitches against a very good team. They're very smart hitters. I think he gave up three hits today against that team that tells you this kid is arriving. We're watching the development in front of our eyes."

So what was working so well for Perez against the A's?

"Everything," Perez said. "Mostly my two-seamer."

Perez made the typically patient A's hitters get overaggressive as the game progressed.

"I saw [Yoenis] Cespedes and Donaldson, they tried every time to hit a home run," Perez said. "That's why I throw my sinker on the corner. When they're trying to hit the ball hard, they can't. I think that, for me, is a big feature. ... If you locate the ball you can do whatever you want."

Perez, who turned 23 on April 4, won his fourth straight start after getting a no-decision in his first start of the season, a 3-2 Rangers victory against the Philadelphia Phillies.

"He's been good since the first outing," Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos said. "He's amazing. He's throwing the ball really well, competing, commanding every pitch. It's tough to hit when you're throwing the ball down with every pitch in the strike zone."

Perez's streak started with eight scoreless innings against the Houston Astros on April 13 in a 1-0 Rangers victory. Five days later he blanked the Chicago White Sox on three hits in a 12-0 win. He has given up only 11 hits during his 26-inning scoreless streak, which is the seventh longest in franchise history.

"I feel great," Perez said. "I feel amazing."

Perez needs 13 more scoreless innings to match Kenny Rogers' team record of 39 innings, set in 1995. He became the seventh pitcher in Rangers history to throw back-to-back shutouts. One more and he'll match Charlie Hough's team record of three straight shutouts set in 1983.

Perez said he's already thinking about his next start Tuesday against the A's at Arlington, not about his amazing numbers and accomplishments or his gem Wednesday.

"The game's finished," Perez said. "I'm going to face Oakland again. I don't know how I'm going to pitch, if I'm going to pitch different or not. We have a day off tomorrow, which is nice for me. I think the team is doing a great job. We had three runs today. That's good."

Chirinos said he never envisioned Perez putting up such dazzling numbers, but he's enjoying the show and is "happy" for him.

"I'm happy for him because I know he prepares himself before every outing," Chirinos said. "He works hard. He's a great guy. He's the best."

Washington certainly has no complaints.

"What a pitcher," Washington said. "He did a great job against a great hitting team. They're very aggressive, they know how to sit on pitches, they know how to take advantage of patterns if you have any. He stayed out of patterns. He kept the ball down, he gave them nothing on the middle of the plate to hit. He just did a wonderful job to finish it off."