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Perez pitches five-inning perfect game04/19/2011 11:10 PM ET
By John Parker / Special to MLB.com
Lightning struck Dickey-Stephens Park in more ways than one Tuesday night as Martin Perez, the Rangers' top pitching prospect, tossed a weather-shortened five-inning perfect game.
The Double-A Frisco RoughRiders topped the Arkansas Travelers, 1-0, when severe storms rolled through North Little Rock in the sixth inning, halting play.
"It's great to be perfect," Perez said after retiring all 15 batters he faced. "I'm very happy right now."
It was the fifth -- and shortest -- perfect game in Texas League history and the second for the RoughRiders. The most recent came on July 28, 2005, when three Frisco pitchers combined on a perfecto against Corpus Christi. Tulsa's Al Shealy tossed the other perfect game of fewer than nine innings with a seven-inning gem against San Antonio on June 23, 1935.
The perfecto gave the 20-year-old Perez (1-0) his first victory of the season and lowered his ERA to 1.38. He pitched five shutout frames at Springfield in his previous start on April 14.
"I threw fastballs and curveballs mostly tonight, with just a few changeups," Perez said.
The Venezuelan southpaw was named MLB.com's No. 23 prospect during the offseason. He went 5-8 with a 5.96 ERA in 24 games with Frisco last year.
"Every day I work with my balance, throwing the ball in front of my body," he said. "My command has gotten better, so I can throw any of my pitches at any time [in the count]."
Perez threw 42 of 67 pitches for strikes, fanning three before the weather intervened. He recorded seven ground-ball outs and four flyouts.
Perez threw four hitless innings for Class A Hickory in his 2009 season debut but had never flirted with perfection before. He issued at least one walk in all but one of his outings last year.
The RoughRiders gave Perez all the support he needed when Davis Stoneburner, Mike Bianucci and Tommy Mendonca collected consecutive one-out hits in the first. Frisco added a pair of singles in the second, but that was all the offense either club mustered.
Arkansas starter Trevor Reckling (0-2) took the loss after yielding one run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Perez's historic outing helped Frisco snap a three-game losing streak. The RoughRiders have a day off Wednesday before opening a four-game homestand against Corpus Christi.