NEW YORK (AP) — In his 11th major league season, Martín Pérez is making a strong pitch for his first All-Star selection this month.
Pérez won his seventh straight decision, Kole Calhoun hit two of Texas' four home runs and the Rangers beat the New York Mets 7-3 on Saturday.
“Good team win all the way around,” Calhoun said after breaking out of a slump.
Calhoun smacked a three-run shot off spot starter Trevor Williams in the second inning and third-year catcher Jonah Heim followed with his career-high 11th homer to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead. Both drives reached the front of the second deck in right field, giving Texas its fifth set of back-to-back home runs this season.
Starling Marte launched an early two-run homer and Eduardo Escobar also went deep against Pérez (7-2), who had given up only two long balls in 15 starts covering 93 1/3 innings coming in.
“He’s been huge for us all season. He’s worked deep into games. He works quick, keeps the defense involved, and has definitely stopped the bleeding from time to time this year,” Calhoun said. “He’s pitched in some tight ones, so it’s nice to get him a little breathing room.”
With two on in the fifth, Pérez got major league RBI leader Pete Alonso to ground into an inning-ending double play started nicely by shortstop Corey Seager.
The 31-year-old lefty permitted seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. He is 7-0 in his last 11 starts, and his 2.34 ERA ranks among the American League leaders.
“My big thing is, I don’t want them to use the bullpen when I pitch. I’m just trying to go deep,” Pérez said. “Today was perfect.”
After losing his first two starts this season, Pérez is unbeaten in his last 14 — a career best. His seven-game winning streak matches a career high set in 2017, and Texas has won 11 of his past 12 outings.
Quite a jump for a veteran pitcher who began the day with a 69-71 career record and 4.52 ERA.
“He's executing. Before he would miss a lot more,” Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “He's always been good. He's always been elite. He just didn't execute as much.”
As for that All-Star resume? Pérez said he's not thinking about getting picked — but Calhoun was happy to stump for his teammate.
“He definitely deserves it, 100%,” the outfielder said.
Dennis Santana got four outs in relief, and Joe Barlow finished up.
Calhoun, who struck out all four times up in Friday night's loss, sent an opposite-field solo shot to left in the fourth for his ninth career multi-homer game and second this season. He batted just .181 in his previous 24 games.
Seager added an RBI single for Texas in the eighth, and Leody Taveras homered off Tommy Hunter in the ninth.
Williams (1-5) went 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs and five hits in his seventh start of the year. He filled in a day after Chris Bassitt was scratched and placed on the injured list, with Mets manager Buck Showalter hinting the right-hander was dealing with COVID-19.
New York lost for the fourth time in five games and its lead in the NL East was shaved to 2 1/2 games over Atlanta — the smallest its been since April 30. The Mets were up by 10 1/2 games on June 1.
Rangers: RHP Spencer Howard was added to the taxi squad and threw a bullpen at Citi Field. He's a likely candidate to start Tuesday at Baltimore.
Mets: RHP Jacob deGrom is scheduled to throw about 25 pitches and two innings Sunday night in his first minor league rehab start for Class A St. Lucie. The two-time Cy Young Award winner has been sidelined all season because of a stress reaction in his right scapula that caused inflammation. He missed the second half of last season with a sprained elbow and hasn't pitched in the majors since July 7, 2021. ... 2B/LF Jeff McNeil was out of the starting lineup to rest his right leg and flied out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. McNeil returned Tuesday after missing five games with hamstring tightness. “Just managing the leg, making sure we take some precautions,” Showalter said. “He doesn't have any pain, any restrictions. Just kind of, you can tell he's a little tentative about it." ... RHP Trevor May (right triceps inflammation) threw off a mound and could make a minor league rehab appearance soon.
Mets LHP David Peterson traveled to Denver to join wife Alex, who is expecting the couple’s first child. Peterson moved up a day and pitched six innings Friday night in Bassitt's place, striking out 10 in a 4-3 win. He won't be replaced on the active roster until the team formally puts Peterson on the paternity list, but it's uncertain who will start Wednesday in Cincinnati when his next turn in the rotation comes up.
BY THE NUMBERS
Showalter remained one win short of 1,600 as a manager. He's tied with Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda for 22nd place on the career chart.
Texas RHP Jon Gray (4-3, 3.89 ERA) tries to win his career-best fourth straight start Sunday when he faces RHP Carlos Carrasco (8-4, 4.85) in the series finale. Gray is 1-2 with an 8.87 ERA in five career games against the Mets. Carrasco is coming off a pair of rough outings in consecutive losses to Houston.
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Mike Fitzpatrick, The Associated Press