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Martinez giving Texas something to think about

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- There may be some intrigue building in the Rangers' rotation.

Nick Martinez is the one causing it because he is pitching like a guy who doesn't want to go back to Triple-A Round Rock. He'll know in five days if that's the case.

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ARLINGTON -- There may be some intrigue building in the Rangers' rotation.

Nick Martinez is the one causing it because he is pitching like a guy who doesn't want to go back to Triple-A Round Rock. He'll know in five days if that's the case.

View Full Game Coverage

Martinez, in the rotation because A.J. Griffin is on the disabled list with inflammation in his left ankle, put together his second strong start, holding the Angels to three runs over six innings in the Rangers' 6-3 loss on Friday night at Globe Life Park.

Martinez left with the game tied. The Angels won it on Albert Pujols' three-run homer off of reliever Jeremy Jeffress in the eighth.

"I thought Nick threw the ball well," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.

Martinez was coming off a strong outing against the Royals last Saturday after being called up from Round Rock, when he allowed just one run over seven innings.

"This was very similar to what we saw the last outing," Banister said. "The curveball came in to play and kept them off the fastball. He was able to use the curveball in advantage counts."

Martinez gave up a first-pitch home run to leadoff hitter Yunel Escobar, who jumped on a fastball and drove it over the center-field wall. That reaffirmed to Martinez that the Angels were going to come out swinging aggressively, and he compensated by mixing in his curveball.

"I felt great. …In sync with my mechanics, a good game plan going into it," Martinez said. "I've faced this team quite a bit now, and they came out hacking today. I kind of used their aggressiveness against them."

Video: LAA@TEX: Escobar homers on the game's first pitch

Martinez quickly settled down to retire 15 of the next 17, including nine straight going into the sixth inning.

"He was just locating his pitches well," Angels first baseman C.J. Cron said. "He was throwing that cutter off the sinker, and I think we were having a tough time picking it up."

Martinez made it 10 straight by getting Escobar on a groundout, but Kole Calhoun singled and Mike Trout lined a 2-1 high-cut fastball over the center-field fence to give the Angels a 3-1 lead.

"Maybe the wrong location to throw that pitch," Martinez said. "He was able to get on top of that. He hits the low ball fairly well. It seems to be his strength. We got him out earlier in the game up in the zone, and he was able to get on top of that one."

Video: LAA@TEX: Trout crushes a two-run home run to center

Martinez retired the next two hitters to finish his night. Now, he waits to see what the Rangers will do with Griffin.

Griffin made a start for Round Rock on Friday night. It didn't seem to go well, although the Rangers made it known before the start that it was intended to see if the ankle was healthy.

It was a short outing as Griffin went just 1 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on five hits, including two homers, and two walks. He threw 37 pitches.

That spot in the rotation comes up again on Wednesday against the Astros, but nothing has been decided yet. Martinez made one thing clear if the Rangers stay with him at least one more time.

"I'll be ready," Martinez said.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Nick Martinez