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'El De Guanare' lifts Rangers with 7 scoreless

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Left-hander Martin Perez fired seven scoreless innings as the Rangers shut out the Angels, 3-0, in Thursday's finale at Angel Stadium to clinch a series victory and pull within one game of the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Perez (aka "El De Guanare" for Players Weekend) scattered seven hits, while walking none, striking out three and throwing 73 of his 99 pitches for strikes. It marked his longest scoreless outing since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2015. "El De Guanare" is a reference to the lefty's hometown in Venezuela.

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ANAHEIM -- Left-hander Martin Perez fired seven scoreless innings as the Rangers shut out the Angels, 3-0, in Thursday's finale at Angel Stadium to clinch a series victory and pull within one game of the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Perez (aka "El De Guanare" for Players Weekend) scattered seven hits, while walking none, striking out three and throwing 73 of his 99 pitches for strikes. It marked his longest scoreless outing since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2015. "El De Guanare" is a reference to the lefty's hometown in Venezuela.

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"I've got to believe [tonight] was a huge building step for Martin in how he pitched," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It wasn't, 'Step on the gas for every single fastball.' There was some intent to back off at some periods and let the sinker play more, and let it move to get them on the ground."

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Drew Robinson crushed a two-run home run off Angels rookie Troy Scribner in the third, and Mike Napoli added a solo shot in the fourth to back Perez's stellar effort. Texas, which has won eight of its last 11 games, now has 200 home runs this season, the most in the Majors.

Video: TEX@LAA: Napoli skies a solo homer to center in 4th

Scribner, who was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday to make a spot start in place of the injured JC Ramirez, yielded three runs on three hits, walking two and striking out six, over five innings.

"I was kind of all over the place tonight," Scribner said. "In the first couple innings, my delivery was off a little bit. My timing was off enough to kind of flatten out my fastball. I wasn't as sharp with my fastball control as I usually am. That's how it goes when you're facing big league guys. You miss location, and even if it's a little bit, they rip it."

Video: TEX@LAA: Scribner whiffs Odor for his sixth strikeout

Cameron Maybin and Jefry Marte had two hits apiece, but the Angels went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. They remain a half-game out of a Wild Card spot as a result of the Twins' 5-1 loss to the White Sox on Thursday.

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"It was one of those nights where we just didn't square up the ball," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Give Perez some credit. He made some pitches when he had to. … Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap. We'll rebound tomorrow."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Robinson goes deep: Scribner faced the minimum through the first two innings and struck out Rougned Odor to start the third, but his night then hit a snag. Brett Nicholas doubled to give the Rangers their first hit, and Robinson followed by sending an 86-mph fastball to center field for a two-run homer, giving Texas a 2-0 lead. Robinson's fourth home run of the season had an exit velocity of 104 mph and traveled a projected 431 feet, according to Statcast™.

"Big home run in that situation," Banister said. "He had a big hit for us last night, too. He had the hometown crowd, being in front of his family -- special night for him." More >

Video: TEX@LAA: Robinson launches a two-run homer to right

Perez navigates trouble: The Angels generated their best scoring chance against Perez in the third, when Cliff Pennington and Maybin led off with consecutive singles to put runners on first and second. But Perez struck out Mike Trout, induced a foul out from Albert Pujols and coaxed a groundout from C.J. Cron to escape the jam and preserve the Rangers' 2-0 lead.

"I just tried to focus and throw the pitch where I wanted, and wanted to pitch for ground balls," Perez said of the at-bat against Trout. "I know we're close and we still have a chance for the Wild Card, and I think this is the game you have to fight and compete for."

Video: TEX@LAA: Perez retires Cron to escape a jam in 3rd

QUOTABLE
"To record a save in this setting -- a playoff-type atmosphere, in a ballpark he's never been in -- and to go 1-2-3, it's just one of those magic moments you get in baseball from time to time," -- Banister, on Ricardo Rodriguez recording his first career save

Video: TEX@LAA: Rodriguez fans Valbuena for his first save

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Napoli has been a tough out for the Angels, one of his former clubs, hitting .328 with 13 home runs and 21 RBIs as an opponent at Angel Stadium. The home runs are the most by a visiting player at Angel Stadium since 2011, behind teammate Adrian Beltre (15) and Seattle's Nelson Cruz (14).

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Banister extended the top of the top of the ninth with a challenge following a ground ball hit by Napoli. Angels third baseman Marte fired to Pennington to get Nomar Mazara out at second, and Napoli was called out at first to complete what appeared to be an inning-ending double play. But the call was overturned after a review, extending the frame.

Video: TEX@LAA: Napoli safe at first on overturned call

WHAT'S NEXT
Rangers: Nick Martinez is set to be recalled to open a three-game series -- and Players Weekend -- against the A's at 9:05 p.m. CT on Friday in Oakland. Martinez has thrown 14 scoreless innings in two starts for Triple-A Round Rock since being optioned on Aug. 9. .

Angels: The Angels continue their 10-game homestand on Friday by kicking off a three-game series -- and Players Weekend -- against the Astros at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Rookie Parker Bridwell (7-1, 2.92 ERA) will take the mound for the Angels in the opener.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Ryan Posner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Martin Perez