OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Martin Perez pitched his second consecutive shutout to extend his scoreless innings streak to 26 and the Texas Rangers wrapped up a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 3-0 victory Wednesday.
Donnie Murphy homered and Michael Choice scored one run and drove in another for the Rangers, who moved a half-game ahead of Oakland in first place in the AL West with their first sweep of the A’s since August 2011.
Perez (3-1) outpitched Sonny Gray (3-1) in a heralded matchup of emerging stars, allowing just three hits and two walks in his first start since throwing a three-hitter against the White Sox for his first career shutout.
Perez, who also threw eight scoreless innings against Houston on April 13, is the first Rangers pitcher to have three straight scoreless starts since Kenny Rogers had four straight over 30 innings in 2005. Perez also joined Charlie Hough in 1983 as the only Texas pitchers to have three straight starts of at least eight scoreless innings.
The A’s never even threatened Perez on their way to getting swept at home for the first time since September 2012 against the Angels, ending a streak of 32 straight home series with at least one win.
Oakland got leadoff singles from Jed Lowrie in the fourth and Derek Norris in the fifth for its first two hits off Perez. But Perez followed each of those hits by getting the next batter to hit into a double play, giving him a major league-leading 11 groundball double plays.
Josh Donaldson doubled with one out in the seventh, but was stranded there when Alberto Callaspo grounded out with runners on first and second to end the inning.
Gray allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings to end a six-game winning streak in the regular season dating to last September.
He fell behind when Choice led the game off with a walk and scored on Alex Rios’ triple. The Rangers were poised for a possible big inning when Rios was originally ruled safe at home on a grounder Lowrie at shortstop. But A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged the call and Rios was ruled out on instant replay.
Choice, traded from Oakland to Texas in the offseason, added an RBI single in the fifth and Murphy hit his first homer of the season in the sixth to make it 3-0.
NOTES: Rangers 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff was held out with a sore back. … Scott Kazmir (2-0) will take the mound against Brett Oberholtzer (0-3) on Thursday when Oakland opens a four-game series in Houston. … Texas is off Thursday before beginning a three-game series in Seattle on Friday.
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