Infrequent difficulty finds Perez, Rangers

DETROIT – Good things usually seem to happen when Texas Rangers rookie starting pitcher Martin Perez takes the mound.

That wasn’t the case Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park, where he gave up three longballs through four innings and was tagged with a 5-0 loss against the Detroit Tigers.

The Rangers had not lost since May 27 -- his season debut -- when Perez had taken the mound.

“That’s part of the game,” Perez said. “A couple of pitches up, three pitches I left hanging. I’ll learn from that, but I think I did pretty good.”

All three were solo homers.

The first was by Torii Hunter in the bottom of the first inning on a 2-2 pitch. The next two came back-to-back off the bats of Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta in the fourth.

Against Martinez, he wanted to throw a sinker away. Then Peralta cranked out a changeup that was up in the strike zone.

“I just missed the zone,” Perez said. “If I make my pitch, down and in the dirt, maybe he swings or maybe he doesn’t. If I throw the pitches where I want to, maybe it’s a ground ball or fly ball.”

Perez came in with a 54.00 earned run average lifetime against the Tigers.

His only other appearance against Detroit came in relief last season, when he allowed four runs in two-thirds innings of work.

“He just lost command of his fastball,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “But he gave us a chance.”

Perez did lower his ERA to 12.79 against the Tigers after the outing but gave up career highs in runs and earned runs (five), walks (three) and home runs (three). He did match his career high with four strikeouts.

“When I see [Tigers starter Justin] Verlander pitching, I want to do the same,” Perez said. “I just need to throw more strikes and hit the zone. If I don’t hit the zone then there’s a problem.”

In the sixth inning, Perez got into trouble after walking the first two batters in the order, who would both come around later to score.

“I was tired a little bit, maybe,” Perez said. “I threw like nine balls in a row, but after that, I told myself I have to compete and get a double play. Got two quick outs and he took me out. That’s OK, I can’t say anything.”

The lesson learned by the young pitcher was quite simple: You can’t miss the zone.

“You have to throw the pitch where you want to throw,” Perez said. “If you give up a home run, you can’t get mad. If you get mad, you’re going to lose. Stay relaxed in your mind because we have a good team. We didn’t win today, but that’s OK.”

He wound up throwing 74 pitches, 44 for strikes, in 5⅔ innings.

“He's just got to execute,” Washington said. “That’s how he did what he did the first starts he pitched well. Today, he didn’t execute some pitches, and we didn’t come back. That’s all it is. He has tremendous stuff, mechanics. He’s just got to execute, and that’s the difference being up here and in the minor leagues.”