(author's note: sorry about the delay, but here's a brief note on Perez. decided to go super
dramatic cheesy tonight. deal with it.)
As Martin Perez took the mound in the seventh, one thing was clear: he had pitched a great game. What's not to like -- in the six innings completed, Perez was using all three of his pitches well and had limited the Redhawk hitters to just four hits. Want fastball command? No walks, and even better, just four three-ball counts the entire game. Off-speed? Perez sprinkled in both his slider and his change-up effectively (although the change-up did get hit hard a few times when he left it up). And of course, results? One unearned run, thanks to a Brandon Synder throwing error.
But after grooving a pitch right down the middle for a lead-off double, who could have really faulted Perez for letting him score. The score at the time was 2-1 Express, but triple-A results don't really matter, right?
Martin isn't the Rangers second best prospect for nothing, though. It was time for him to bear down, grit those teeth, and show it. The Oklahoma City skipper opted to sacrifice the runner to third in very Ron Washington-esque fashion, drawing the Express infield in. In two pitches, he induced a weak pop-up to left too short to score the runner. One more pitch, resulting in a grounder to short, and the Express' 2-1 was preserved.
From there, the rest of the game was a cakewalk. The only hitter to reach in the eight and ninth innings was on a weak ground ball to 3B. When Matt Dominguez skied a pop-up to the infield, Perez's arm went straight up. Of course, he was only pointing out the pop-out to the infield, but he left it up there just a bit too long for it to be just that. It was a sign of success, of victory, as he led the Express to a win by the narrowest of margins. Martin would have been a star of the game if he had allowed the tying run and left the game after seven, but instead, he was the hero.