ARLINGTON, Texas — Mike Leake pitched well in his Giants debut. Unfortunately for him, the guy on the other side was historically good.
Martin Perez needed just 80 pitches to get the first 25 outs and his bullpen just barely held on as the Rangers won 2-1 at Globe Life Park. Leake took a tough-luck loss in his first game with the Giants, and the team was handed a disappointing series loss to start the season's most grueling road trip.
Leake did what he does early on. He needed just five pitches to get two quick outs on grounders in the first, and when a bloop dropped in shallow center and Adrian Beltre hit a double, Leake got out of the inning with a strikeout of Mitch Moreland. He worked a quick second inning and got double plays to strand runners in the third and fourth innings. Two strikeouts got Leake out of the fifth on just 69 pitches.
Leake is known for working quickly and letting his fielders get to work, but Perez took that to a new level on the other side. Perez, a talented lefty who is coming off Tommy John surgery, needed just 24 pitches — 22 of them strikes — to set the first nine Giants down in order.
He had a perfect game going until second baseman Rougned Odor made a throwing error with two down in the fifth. Justin Maxwell followed with an infield single that broke up the no-hitter, but Perez struck out Brandon Crawford to get out of the inning and then got three groundouts in the sixth. At that point, he had thrown just 54 pitches to get 18 outs.
Josh Hamilton finally provided some offense in the sixth, blasting a hanging curveball from Leake deep down the line in right. The two-run homer was Hamilton’s fifth as a Ranger. Leake made it into the seventh on a 96-degree day in Texas. He was pulled when Nori Aoki played a Chris Gimenez liner into a double, and Javier Lopez got the Giants out of the jam.
Perez continued to sail along, throwing eight pitches in the seventh and 13 in the eighth. He was shockingly pulled when Angel Pagan doubled on his 80th pitch. Rangers fans booed the decision and Perez didn't appear happy as he left the mound. Jake Diekman issued a walk and Matt Duffy singled off Sam Dyson to load the bases for Buster Posey, who hit a single to left that got the Giants within one. The Rangers escaped when Hunter Pence hit into a double play.
Starting pitching report: Leake’s line: 6 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts. He got 11 outs on the ground.
Bullpen report: Lopez was born to face these Rangers. He came in for a string of left-handers and got Leake out of the seventh with two popups.
At the plate: Uhhh …
In the field: Leake kept these guys busy, and he’s certainly going to enjoy life in front of what might be the best defensive infield in baseball. Ehire Adrianza, playing for Joe Panik (stiff back), had a nice day defensively and showed why management trusts him in that role.
Attendance: The Rangers announced a crowd of 22,234. Must have been a Cowboys practice on TV or something.
Up next: More sweat. The Giants head to muggy Atlanta to face Mike Foltynewicz, Shelby Miller and Williams Perez. Matt Cain, Jake Peavy and Madison Bumgarner start for Bruce Bochy.