Slumping Perez vows to keep working

"I'm the same guy" who was 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA, said Martin Perez, now 4-3 with a 4.38. Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Only 17 days ago, Texas Rangers left-hander Martin Perez sported a 4-0 record, a 1.42 ERA and was coming off back-to-back complete-game shutouts.

Three starts later, following Saturday’s 8-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox, Perez’s record has dropped to 4-3 and the ERA has climbed to 4.38.

“I’m the same guy," said Perez in the clubhouse afterward. “I’m still working hard every day, that’s how you learn. I know there are going to be good days and bad days. I can work with that."

The Red Sox crowded nine hits, four walks and a hit batsman into 3.2 innings against Perez, his shortest outing in eight starts. It was the major-league-high sixth time a Rangers starter has failed to complete four innings -- and the fourth time in the past 12 games.

Boston put up solo runs in the second and third innings, the latter marker coming on a solo home run by David Ortiz. Perez followed the homer with a walk of Mike Napoli, but then got the next three in order.

“It looked like he found something in the third inning,’’ said manager Ron Washington. “He couldn’t keep it going.’’

The Red Sox broke it open with four runs in the fourth and the bullpen was needed to get the final out.

“He didn’t have the breaking ball to keep them off the fastball,’’ said Washington. “I felt like he’d continue to fight. The guy is a fighter.’’

Perez needed 86 pitches to register 11 outs.

“Too many pitches in a couple of innings," he said.

Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux made three mound visits to try to get Perez on track.

Washington said the visits were designed to slow down Perez’s mind and let him concentrate on the execution of the pitch.

“It’s tough for him and tough for everybody,’’ said catcher Robinson Chirinos, a friend of Perez. “We’ll see what we can do for him so next time he can do better. I know we will see him pitching like he was a few weeks ago.’’

Chirinos said teams are laying off Perez pitches that break down too low to be called strikes.

“Teams were swinging at those same pitches and hitting into double plays. Now they are taking them,’’ Chirinos said. “He made a lot of great pitches that weren’t hit hard, but found holes.’’

  • Maddux was ejected in the eighth inning. Washington said the ejection was for questioning balls and strikes.

  • Leonys Martin singled in the ninth to extend his home hitting streak to 12 games.