ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds had not faced each other since 2007. And if Friday night's game is a barometer for what will happen during the rest of the three-game series, the Reds will be happy to wait another six years before playing the Rangers again.
The Rangers scored three runs early and that was plenty for starter Martin Perez, who pitched a masterpiece in Texas's 4-0 victory.
The Rangers improved to 47-33, have won eight of their last nine games and kept their half-game lead in the American League West.
The Reds (46-34) were shut out for the second consecutive night and now have lost seven of their past eight games.
Perez (2-1), who was coming off a strong performance on Sunday when he stifled the St. Louis Cardinals, gave up six hits in 6 2/3 innings while striking out three.
Perez relied on his defense for much of the game, forcing 10 groundball outs. He escaped jams in the second and fifth thanks to double plays.
The left-hander ran into trouble in the seventh though, and departed with two outs and the bases loaded for reliever Jason Frasor. Frasor needed just two pitches to end the threat and keep the Reds off the scoreboard.
Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto (4-2) left the game after just three pitches in the second inning. He complained of tightness in his right lat muscle, which has bothered him for much of the season. He already has been on the disabled list -- from April 15-May 20 -- because of his lat muscle.
Texas opened the scoring off Cueto in the first on Adrian Beltre's two-out RBI single, which scored Elvis Andrus.
Tony Cingrani replaced Cueto in the second and struck out Mitch Moreland before running into trouble. Cingrani walked Jurickson Profar and gave up a single to David Murphy.
After Leonys Martin struck out, Cingrani walked the next three batters and Texas had a 3-0 lead.
The Reds had a chance to score in their half of the second but wasted back-to-back singles by Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce. Perez induced Todd Frazier to ground into a double play and Chris Heisey popped out to end the threat.
Notes: Texas ended a streak of 19 games without scoring a run in the first when Beltre drove Andrus in with the game's first run. The streak was the longest for the Rangers since 2004. ... Beltre moved into eighth all-time in starts at third base with 2131, passing Hall of Famer Ron Santo. ... Cueto has been on the disabled list for the Reds twice entering Friday night's short start. ... Martin extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games with a single in the sixth.