ARLINGTON -- Left-hander Martin Perez overcame a two-run home run by Justin Upton in the first inning and helped pitch the Rangers to a 6-2 victory over the Tigers on Monday night at Globe Life Park. The win was the Rangers' fourth in five games and moved them to within three games in the American League Wild Card standings.
Perez won his second straight start, holding the Tigers to two runs on six hits, a walk and two strikeouts. He finished his night retiring 10 of the last 12 batters he faced.
"I have confidence," Perez said. "When you have that, you can do what you want with the ball and compete. It's not easy going out and facing good hitters, but when you have confidence, you compete and do your job."
Upton gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the first inning with his 23rd home run of the season. But the Rangers scored five in the first four innings off Michael Fulmer, who was making his first start since coming off the disabled list with ulnar neuritis in his right elbow. Fulmer is now 0-4 with a 7.89 ERA in his last four starts.
"I felt good," Fulmer said. "That's really the only positive I can take out of today."
The Rangers' big blow of the night was Joey Gallo's 33rd home run of the season, a solo shot in the third inning. But the Rangers had just two extra-base hits on the night. They were able to manufacture the necessary runs with three walks, two sacrifice bunts, two stolen bases, a bunt single and a sacrifice fly. They were also 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
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Rougned Odor had three hits, including the bunt single, and scored three runs. Nomar Mazara also had a three-hit night, and Robinson Chirinos went 2-for-3.
"I think we've been playing more together," Odor said. "When we play together, I think nobody can beat us. And that's what we've been doing the last couple games, and I hope we keep doing that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Odor speeds around: Odor, who began the night in a 4-for-35 slump, led off the second inning with a bunt single. It was his fourth this season after hitting nine in 2016. He went to second on a single by Chirinos. While Drew Robinson was at the plate, Tigers catcher James McCann tried to pick off Odor at second, but Odor broke for third instead and was safe without a throw. Robinson struck out, bringing up Delino DeShields, who dropped a first-pitch bunt that McCann fielded just a few feet in front of the plate. It was not a suicide squeeze, but Odor broke when the bunt was dropped and surprised McCann. Odor was safe, as McCann's only play was at first base.
"I only do that when the guy at third base can run and expects me to do that," DeShields said. "Rougie is an instinctive guy. I was confident if I got it down, he would be there. It wasn't the greatest of bunts, but it got it done." More >
Robinson shines in center: Robinson made his third start in center for the Rangers and made two key plays. In the first inning, he raced in to make a diving catch on John Hicks' high pop in shallow center, and he added an RBI single in the fourth inning off Fulmer.
"Off the bat, you're just trying to get a good read," Robinson said. "Sometimes with the ones like that, when they go high and it's a blooper, your first instinct is to break back. So with the full swing, bloopers are always the tough ones. Luckily I was able to make up for it and make a good catch."
KINSLER, AUSMUS TOSSED
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler and manager Brad Ausmus were ejected in the fifth inning -- Kinsler for arguing balls and strikes, Ausmus for arguing Kinsler's ejection. It was the 11th career ejection for Kinsler, the 13th for Ausmus as a manager (and third this season).
"I think if you put it diplomatically, I don't think either team was overly pleased," McCann said of the strike zone. More >
Tigers: Right-hander Justin Verlander pitches against the Rangers at 8:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Globe Life Park. Verlander has won his last three starts and is 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break. He is 10-5 with a 2.78 ERA in 18 career starts against the Rangers.
Rangers: Right-hander A.J. Griffin starts against the Tigers at 7:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Griffin is 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in two starts since returning from the disabled list. This is his 11th start but just his third at home.
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