ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Martin Perez said this game would be different and he was right. Perez, after the delivery adjustment he made between starts, was much sharper than in his two previous outings and this time, the bullpen made a lead stand up.
The second part was a little more harrowing than needed, but the Rangers were still able to hold on for a 7-4 victory over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park. Fourth-inning home runs by Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo, as well as a clutch two-run single in the eighth by Isiah Kiner-Falefa, also helped the Rangers keep from being swept by the Mariners.
Perez, who had allowed 16 runs combined in his two previous starts, earned the victory by holding the Mariners to two runs in six innings. He allowed seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts in a performance that suggested getting back over the top in his delivery would make a difference. So did his strong mental outlook, as suggested by his mentor Bartolo Colon.
"I was talking to Bartolo yesterday and he was saying, 'Stay positive, we're close to good things happening,'" Perez said. "Everything starts with your mind. If you're not ready in your mind, you're not ready to compete. You've got to stay positive, even when things are not going good."
The performance also came at a time when the Rangers are close to having Doug Fister return from the disabled list and go back into a crowded rotation. Another bad outing by Perez might have put his spot in the rotation in jeopardy, although manager Jeff Banister said the Rangers were not thinking about that.
"I don't think that's necessarily the case," Banister said. "We always look to put our best out there and Martin is one of our best. He has gone through a lot and he has some range and equity with us."
The Mariners had 11 hits and three walks, but Rangers pitchers were able to hold them to 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
"We had a ton of traffic out there, we left 12 men on base," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "A lot of good at-bats. With all the traffic, you hope you can put up more than four runs. I thought we had, certainly, plenty of chances, we just didn't get a couple big hits."
The win snapped the Rangers' three-game losing streak, with the last two coming despite leading after six innings. The Rangers held a 5-2 lead after six on Sunday, but the bullpen teetered on the brink in the seventh after Perez departed.
Matt Bush took over, but gave up a single to Jean Segura and a two-run home run to Mitch Haniger. He then walked Robinson Cano and retired Nelson Cruz on a fly to left. Jake Diekman took over, but his throwing error on Kyle Seager's comebacker to the mound followed by a walk to Ichiro Suzuki loaded the bases. But Diekman recovered, striking out David Freitas and Mike Zunino to end the inning.
"Don't let anybody score basically," Diekman said. "At that point I am just trying to get a weak fly ball or a ground out. If you execute pitches and stick with the plan...execution is the big thing."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Rangers, leading 2-0, let Gallo swing away on a 3-0 pitch in the fourth with a runner on first and two out. Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez threw a sinker and Gallo went the other way, hitting one high and deep into the visitors' bullpen for a two-run home run.
Adrian Beltre's second-inning double gave him 1,119 extra-base hits in his career, tying him with George Brett for 17th all-time. Beltre then moved ahead of Brett with another double in the eighth.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Delino DeShields returned from the disabled list and made the defensive play of the game in the sixth. After Perez walked Suzuki to lead off the inning, Freitas followed with a high drive to center that kept being pushed out by the wind. DeShields got to the wall, jumped up and made the catch just before the ball landed on top.
"At first it looked like a high pop-up, but the wind was carrying it pretty good," DeShields said. "I tried to get back to the wall and time it. I don't know if I robbed it, but it was at least at the top of the wall."
HE SAID IT
"At the last second, my brain told me, 'You shouldn't be doing this.'" -- DeShields, in his first game back from left wrist surgery, on diving into first base trying to beat out a bunt single
Left-hander Matt Moore opens a three-game series against the Athletics at 7:05 p.m. CT Monday at Globe Life Park. Moore is coming off his best start of the season, allowing one unearned run over seven innings in a 7-2 victory over the Rays last Tuesday. Right-hander Trevor Cahill will pitch for the Athletics.