ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Texas left-hander Martin Perez has gained confidence from his recent success. Plus, the Rangers always seem to score a lot of runs when he’s on the mound.
Perez won his seventh straight start even after two early four-run deficits as the playoff-hopeful Rangers rallied for an 11-5 victory Friday night over the AL wild card-leading New York Yankees.
“I’m just trying to stay in the game because we’ve been up the last month. We’re hitting good,” Perez said. “Five runs is not enough for us to lose a game.”
After being down 4-0 and 5-1, the Rangers went ahead to stay with a four-run fifth that was capped by Elvis Andrus’ tiebreaking two-run single that made it 7-5. He was the first hitter after Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka left with two on and no outs.
Perez (12-10) became the first Rangers pitcher to win seven straight starts since Kenny Rogers set the club record in 2005 with eight in a row. The left-hander allowed five runs, only two earned, over 5 2/3 innings.
“There was no panic in his game, even when we got down. Continued to try to make pitches to get the outs that we needed,” manager Jeff Banister said. “Kept us in the fight really. Something that early in the season we didn’t see from him.”
Nomar Mazara homered for Texas (71-69), which stayed within 2 1/2 games of Minnesota for the AL’s second wild card. The Twins won at Kansas City to move within 1 1/2 games of New York (75-65).
Tanaka (11-11), who had won his last three starts, struck out seven. But the right-hander allowed seven runs and eight hits, and had a wild pitch that allowed Robinson Chirinos to score the tying run.
“I feel responsible for the loss. I felt like I let it slip away,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “The offense gave me a comfortable lead. I just wasn’t able to keep that lead and hold on. I feel responsible for it.”
Texas has scored 61 runs during Perez’s winning streak. The 11 runs Friday matched the most allowed by New York this season.
The Yankees led 4-0 after Gary Sanchez had a two-run single in the second, a four-run outburst when only one of the runs was earned after an error by second baseman Rougned Odor.
After Mazara’s 19th homer in the Rangers second, Didi Gregorius hit a solo homer in the top of the third for New York for a 5-1 lead.
“You feel pretty good about that situation,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “They grinded out some at-bats and got some key hits and knocked (Tanaka) out and then they took over the game.”
Three Rangers relievers combined for 3 1/3 no-hit innings, with six strikeouts and no walks. … Andrus had three hits, including two doubles to give him 40 for the season. Andrus is hitting .400 (28 of 70) over his last 16 games. … Chirinos was 2 for 2 with two walks, and has reached base in 23 consecutive games. … The homer by Gregorius was his seventh in 79 career at-bats against Texas.
BACK TO NEW YORK
After the weekend in Texas, the Yankees will return to New York. Hurricane Irma forced their series at the Tampa Bay Rays to be moved from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. The Rangers last week played their road series against the Houston Astros in St. Pete in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Yankees: Gregorius was a bit gimpy after fouling a ball of his foot in the eighth inning. … CC Sabathia said the lubricating injection in his right knee was routine and scheduled. He plans to throw Saturday and is on track to start the series opener Monday against the Rays.
Rangers: Mazara was back in the lineup after leaving the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Atlanta with tightness in his left quad.
From night to a noon start local time for the second game of the series, with Game 2 scheduled to start only about 13 1/2 hours after the end of the opener. Yankees RHP Luis Severino (12-6), who has allowed one earned run or fewer in eight of 10 starts since the All-Star break, going 7-2 in that span. RHP Andrew Cashner (9-9) goes for the Rangers. He is 6-2 in his last 10 starts.
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