ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Martin Perez struck out a career-high seven batters and Adrian Beltre blasted his 24th home run to lead the Texas Rangers to 5-2 victory against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night in the Rangers' first game without the suspended Nelson Cruz.
Good relief: Perez was pulled in the seventh inning after the Angels loaded the bases, but Jason Frasor limited the damage by getting a fielder's choice ground out and rally-ending line out to new right fielder David Murphy. Neal Cotts pitched a scoreless eighth before Joe Nathan notched his 33rd save.
Perez mows them down: The left-hander improved his record to 4-3 by allowing two runs and four hits through 6 1/3 innings, while striking out those seven batters. His previous high was five strikeouts, which he has accomplished three times. Perez also set a career high with 111 pitches thrown.
Fortunate sequence: The Rangers tied the game in the fifth inning when Murphy scored on a wild pitch by Jerome Williams, then took the lead on a mishap by the Angels' defense in short right field. Howie Kendrick gloved Elvis Andrus' blooper but lost possession of the ball when right fielder Collin Cowgill slid into him. Kendrick left the game with a hyperextended left knee, and Andrus was credited with a triple and two RBIs. The Rangers added two more in the sixth.
The adventure begins: Washington said he planned to use a platoon of outfielders over the next 50 games while Cruz sits out, but Murphy might need more work in right. Starting there for the first time this year, Murphy overran Mark Trumbo's lazy fly ball near the foul pole, allowing Mike Trout to score the game's first run. Murphy, who played right field in 17 games last year, also whiffed on a sliding attempt in the eighth. He was pulled for a defensive replacement in the ninth inning.
Up next: Texas goes for the series win in the second of three games in Anaheim on Tuesday, when Yu Darvish (10-5, 2.66 ERA) takes the mound looking to continue his dominance against the Halos. The Rangers are scheduled to face right-hander Garrett Richards (3-4, 4.18 ERA), who will be making only his third start since filling Joe Blanton's spot in the rotation. First pitch is 9:05 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest, ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540 AM.