OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 03:  Martin Perez #33 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on September 3, 2013 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Martin Perez beat Bartolo Colon and the Athletics on Sept. 3 in Oakland — the Rangers lone win in the series. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) — He might be the Rangers fourth starter, but he’s pitching like the staff ace.

Rookie LHP Martin Perez is looking for his seventh straight win as he takes on the Pirates Tuesday night in Arlington.

“I think he has handled himself admirably,” said Manager Ron Washington. “For a young kid, to just go out there each time you take the ball and stay under control and do what he can do — I think he’s done a great job.”

During his six-game winning streak, the 22-year-old has compiled a 2.76 ERA, striking out 31 while walking only 11. Perez is the first Rangers pitcher to win at least six straight starts since Kenny Rogers won eight in a row in 2005.

Veteran Francisco Liriano, who is experiencing a rebirth in his first season in Pittsburgh, will start opposite Perez. In just 22 starts, Liriano has already collected a career-high 15 wins while maintaining a sparkling 2.98 ERA.

Perez will face the task of out-dueling the Pirates best pitcher — something Perez has become accustomed to as of late.

In his last four wins, Perez has beaten staff aces Chris Sale, Bartolo Colon, and Felix Hernandez twice.

With only 19 games remaining and a two-game deficit in the AL West, the Rangers are relying on Perez to keep his streak going.

“We are watching him grow in front of our eyes,” said Washington. “Let’s enjoy. Let’s not put any expectations on him. At least I’m trying not to.”

Darvish Expected To Start Saturday

It was a dominating performance by Yu Darvish on Monday night against the Pirates — one that ended a bit prematurely.

After limiting the Pirates offense to a single run on four hits in seven innings, the right-hander left the game with cramping symptoms in his right leg.

Darvish was efficient in needing just 81 pitches to get through seven innings, but the 81 pitches represents the fewest thrown by Darvish on the season.

“It’s minor — no level of concern. As of right now, we don’t expect him to miss his next start. It was precautionary to get him out of there,” said Washington following the game.

With the Rangers last off-day of the season coming on Thursday, the team will skip the fifth starter position, putting Darvish in line to start Saturday in Oakland.

Darvish left a start in Chicago on Aug. 24 after seven innings with similar cramping issues in his left leg.

“This part of the year, physically, you’re not going to feel great with the wear and tear throughout the year,” said Darvish through a translator. “But today, I was really able to focus, concentrate, and compete tonight.”

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