ARLINGTON -- In just his third appearance of the month, Nick Martinez might have put forth his best outing of the season. The Rangers' right-hander hadn't made a start since June 13, and a relief outing on June 4 marked the only other time he'd pitched this month.But in Tuesday
ARLINGTON -- In just his third appearance of the month, Nick Martinez might have put forth his best outing of the season. The Rangers' right-hander hadn't made a start since June 13, and a relief outing on June 4 marked the only other time he'd pitched this month.
But in Tuesday night's 6-1 victory against the Blue Jays, working on six days' rest, Martinez was stellar. He threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing a pair of hits -- the fewest he's allowed in any start this year -- and one run. The Rangers gave him four runs of support in the first, and that was more than enough for Martinez to earn his first win at Globe Life Park since August 2015.
"I think Nick has handled every situation that we've put him in over the last three years, about as good as any pitcher we've had. Takes the ball whenever we ask him to pitch, whether it's out of the bullpen, starting role," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I know he's probably more comfortable in the starting role. He's done a tremendous job.
"You look at really his track record over the last three years, it's fairly impressive when you look at the numbers and how he's gone about it. I love that he shows up every single day with no real worry about what we're going to ask of him. True soldier in the sense that he wants to be here, he wants to be part of this and he's going to take the ball and go pitch whenever we ask him to."
Tuesday marked Martinez's second straight quality start, and he has a 1.72 ERA in his three June appearances. Martinez retired 18 of the 23 batters he faced and didn't allow more than a single baserunner in any inning he pitched in.
The Blue Jays have the fifth-highest home run rate in the American League, so keeping Toronto from hitting homers was key for him. Entering Tuesday, the Blue Jays had hit multiple home runs in back-to-back games and in six of their past eight games, but Martinez didn't allow one.
"We were moving it to both sides of the plate and changing speeds when we had to," Martinez said. "They're a pretty good lineup and like to get the ball in the air. Most of their damage is done with home runs. If we can keep it in the park, we give ourselves a chance."
Martinez's next turn is potentially up in the air, however. Andrew Cashner is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, when Martinez's next start would be. If Cashner can go, Martinez could be back in the bullpen.
"Just be ready whenever your name is called," Martinez said. "You have to battle and grind it out. Whatever they need me to do."
Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington.