Express fall to RedHawks, stranding nine
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.