Perez, Rangers blank slumping Reds
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Martin Perez sparkled in his third start of the season by tossing shutout ball into the seventh inning, and the Texas Rangers beat the Cincinnati Reds, 4-0, to open a three-game series.
Perez (2-1) allowed six hits and walked a batter over his 6 2/3 innings. The 22-year-old left-hander also had three strikeouts to help the Rangers to their eighth win in nine games.
"He was pounding the strike zone and not getting caught in any patterns," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He had good mound presence."
Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (4-2) left with tightness in his right lat in the second inning. His replacement, Tony Cingrani, pitched four innings, but walked six batters, including three in a row during the second inning when the Rangers expanded their lead to 3-0.
Cincinnati, which went 0-for-10 with men in scoring position, lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Elvis Andrus legged out an infield hit in the bottom of the first inning, stole second with two outs and scored on Adrian Beltre's looping base hit to left.
Cueto exited after making 29 pitches and had a 1-2 count on Mitch Moreland when he left with nobody out in the second. Cueto was on the disabled list from April 15 - May 19 with a strained right lat and again earlier this month with a strained right shoulder.
Cingrani walked Jurickson Profar, gave up a single to David Murphy and walked Ian Kinsler to load the bases. Elvis Andrus drew a walk on a low and inside pitch to force in a run, and it became 3-0 when Nelson Cruz walked on a high pitch.
Profar singled to right to score Beltre in the fifth. At first, Beltre slowed up at third, but went home when right fielder Jay Bruce threw the ball to second base.
The Reds loaded the bases in the seventh, but Jason Frasor put out the fire by getting Devin Mesoraco to ground into a force play to end the inning.
Zack Cozart doubled and made it to third in the eighth, but Joey Votto grounded out to stop that threat.
"It's been a frustrating road trip for us," Cozart said. "We didn't play well in Oakland and it continued tonight."
Robbie Ross gave up a single to Bruce in the ninth. Bruce made it to second and was destined to come home on a bouncer toward third base. Beltre made a nifty stop and threw across the diamond for the final out.
This was the first time since June 2 (3-1 home win over Royals) that the Rangers scored in the first inning ... The game-time temperature was 100 degrees ... This weekend's visit is the Reds' second to Arlington, their first trip here since 2002 ... Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who had two hits, returned to the team after missing the series in Oakland because of a family matter ... The Reds started a period of playing 17 straight days heading into the All-Star break ... Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin singled in the sixth to extend his career-best hitting streak to 12 games.
06/29 01:18:39 ET