Ex­press fall to RedHawks, strand­ing nine

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Avery Holton

ROUND ROCK — Ser­gio Perez may not need a set-up man, but he could have used a lit­tle more of­fen­sive re­lief Fri­day.

The Round Rock righthander, who was dis­as­trously bumped to mid­dle re­liever for three games last month while Hous­ton’s Bud Nor­ris re­habbed a sore shoul­der with the Ex­press, has con­tin­ued to prove him­self a vi­able starter. Perez al­lowed two earned runs on four hits, two walks and a pair of strike­outs over five in­nings Fri­day, but the Ex­press stranded nine baserun­ners in a 4-2 loss to Ok­la­homa City.

Perez hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his six starts since join­ing the Ex­press from Dou­ble-A Cor­pus Christi in mid-May.

The dam­age could have been worse. With the bases loaded and two away in the top of the eighth, Round Rock’s Yor­dany Ramirez made a leap­ing catch into the cen­ter-field wall to rob Her­nan Iribarren of ex­tra bases.

Wladimir Su­til went 2 for 3 with a walk and scored both Round Rock runs, com­ing home on Matt Kata’s sin­gle in the first and Tommy Everidge’s sec­ond sin­gle of the night in the sev­enth.

Orig­i­nally drafted by Hous­ton in 2006 out of the Uni­ver­sity of Tampa, Perez made 11 re­lief ap­pear­ances for the Lex­ing­ton Leg­ends. In 2007 he switched to starter, where he made 65 of his 67 ap­pear­ances over three sea­sons be­fore work­ing a trio of re­lief trips be­hind Nor­ris last month.

Perez al­lowed nine runs on five walks and 14 hits over 62⁄ in­nings and re­as­sumed his start­ing role with a 2-1 loss at Mem­phis on July 4.

He trimmed his ERA as a starter to 3.10 on Fri­day, al­low­ing one run on two hits and two hit bat­ters over the first four in­nings, be­fore the RedHawks took a 3-1 lead in the fifth.

Este­ban Ger­man’s RBI sin­gle broke a 1-1 tie. Perez then fanned Mitch More­land for the sec­ond out, but a passed ball let an un­earned run come in from third.

Ryan Garko, who ap­peared on the Texas Rangers’ open­ing-day ros­ter, home­red off Yor­man Bazardo to lead off the sixth.

Note: To clear a ros­ter spot for Ramirez, who was as­signed to Round Rock on Thurs­day, in­fielder Luis Maza was added to the in­ac­tive list. Maza, 30, hit .276 with two dou­bles and a home run in 12 games with the Ex­press.

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