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Loss doesn't lessen Martinez's progress

Rookie goes seven-plus in duel with Weaver; Choo homers

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers had just endured a gut-wrenching, 3-2 loss to the Angels in 10 innings at Angel Stadium for their fourth loss in a row, but the mixed emotions in the visiting clubhouse did not involve Saturday night's result.

Manager Ron Washington was delighted by the work of his starter, right-hander Nick Martinez, who pitched five perfect innings, and took a one-hitter and a 1-1 tie into the eighth before C.J. Cron homered to give the Angels a lead that would was soon erased by Shin-Soo Choo's homer leading off the ninth.

"I thought he was great, really," Washington said of the ninth Major League start by Martinez, 23, who's made the jump from a handful of Double A games last season. "His last start, at Seattle, he was able to get his other pitches into play. Tonight, he was moving pitches around, spotting his breaking ball, spotting his changeup, and he was good.

"I told him he did an outstanding job. That's what he's going to have to learn to do, get deep into ballgames. He did that tonight."

As happy as he was with Martinez, though, Washington was just as displeased with plate umpire Vic Carapazza, who ejected Alex Rios in the fourth inning and Michael Choice in the 10th when they questioned strike calls.

"He's got a quick trigger," Washington said of Carapazza, who also ejected Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux in a May 18 game against Seattle -- giving him half the Rangers' six ejections this season. "He needs to settle down a little bit. This is the big leagues. People are out there competing.

"He's got to have some patience. It's ridiculous. All Rios said was, 'Get it together.' He called that arguing balls and strikes."

Rios, who was tossed after grounding into a double play, said: "I didn't say anything to make him react the way he did. [The ejection is] just unacceptable to me. I said, 'Clean it up.'"

Choice, who was called out on strikes before he got tossed, also said he didn't think he said anything meriting an ejection.

"Neither of those pitches were strikes, the 3-1 and the 3-2. I said, 'That [3-2] pitch was down.' He said it was a strike. I said it was down, and then he tossed me."

Martinez, meanwhile, didn't voice any complaints over Carapazza's zone when he was on the mound. And both he and Washington said they thought the pitch Cron hit out, for his fifth homer in his rookie season and second in two nights against the Rangers, was a good job of hitting.

"That was a very good pitch, up and in," Martinez said. "He just got the best of me that time. I think if he had leaned in, it would've hit him. He just got his hands to it."

Washington said: "[Cron] is strong, he got to it, up and in."

Neither Cron's homer, nor Howie Kendrick's game-winning double in the 10th off Jason Frasor, seemed to diminish what this game game might mean to Martinez's career.

"There's a lot of things to take from this," the right-hander said. "It's a good one, to keep rolling, and get into a groove.

"This is a very hard lineup, and I was able to attack them with my fastball. Honestly, [my other pitches] started to come back when I started pounding the zone with my fastball."

Washington said Martinez "is growing up. We've been waiting for him to get back to using all his pitches, and that was in Seattle. Before that, he had no command of his changeup and breaking ball. He got it back."

Martinez was locked in a duel with Angels ace Jered Weaver, who went eight before turning over a 2-1 lead to Kevin Jepsen, who allowed Choo's first homer since May 22 to send it into the 10th.

"Martinez obviously threw a heckuva game on their side," Weaver said. "We were able to squeak one over and then got the big home run by Cron. We couldn't hold it off in the ninth, but we kept fighting."

Earl Bloom is a contributor to
Read More: Texas Rangers, Shin-Soo Choo, Leonys Martin, Michael Choice, Alex Rios, Nick Martinez