The Pacific Coast League hasn't always been kind to Martin Perez, but the 21-year-old southpaw showed signs Monday that he has the ability to thrive at the Triple-A level.
The Rangers' No. 2 prospect allowed one run on four hits and a walk over seven innings as Round Rock trounced Memphis, 7-1. The outing marked the first time that Perez (3-2), who has 17 starts at the Triple-A level dating back to last season, pitched seven full frames for the Express.
The lone run allowed came in the first when Perez (3-2) surrendered doubles to Adron Chambers and Steven Hill, the Redbirds' first and third hitters in the lineup. He ran into slight trouble in the second when Eugenio Velez's single and a walk to Pete Kozma put two men on with one out. But the former Texas League All-Star retired the next two batters with a forceout and a strikeout to end the threat.
Following the second, Perez, who is ranked as MLB.com's No. 27 prospect, put together 1-2-3 innings in the next four frames to give him 14 consecutive outs before the streak was broken by a single by Amaury Cazana to lead off the seventh. The Venezuela native exited after throwing 86 pitches with a season-high 60 for strikes.
Monday marked just the third time in seven starts that the left-hander allowed fewer than three runs. His season ERA had ballooned to 4.54 after he gave up 12 earned runs over a combined 16 1/3 innings in his previous three starts. The stat settled back to 3.98 following Monday. He was 4-4 with a 6.43 ERA last season for Round Rock after a midseason promotion.
An issue that had haunted Perez during his previous struggles was his control. On April 21, he had season highs in runs allowed (five) and walks (five) over five innings in an 8-5 loss to New Orleans. Two starts later, he gave up four earned runs and four free passes over 1/3 innings, but didn't factor into the decision in a 10-5 win over the Zephyrs.
But Monday, he allowed just the one walk to Kozma in the second and reached a three-ball count to only three of the 26 Memphis hitters he faced.
Round Rock second baseman Matt Kata went 2-for-4 with a home run and season-high four RBIs. Third baseman Yangervis Solarte extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a single in the fifth.