HOUSTON -- Texas left-hander Martin Perez recorded his first career complete game to lead the Rangers to their 12th victory in 13 games, a 6-1 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.
Perez (5-3) surrendered four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts to help keep the Rangers (68-50) alone atop the American League West. He allowed just two baserunners into scoring position -- Carlos Corporan in the third inning and Brett Wallace in the fifth -- before Chris Carter ended his shutout bid with a two-out home run in the ninth.
Perez notched a career-high eight strikeouts during his 115-pitch effort.
Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel (5-7) was nearly as effective, but was undermined by a pair of miscues committed by shortstop Jake Elmore.
Keuchel retired 13 consecutive batters to open his outing before Rangers right fielder Alex Rios reached on an infield single with one out in the fifth. Rios hit a slow roller to Elmore who double clutched prior to making the throw to first baseman Brett Wallace.
That mental miscue proved costly when Jeff Baker followed with a single that pushed the speedy Rios into scoring position before Geovany Soto added an RBI double to straightaway center field that gave Texas a 1-0 lead.
In the sixth, Elmore committed a throwing error that allowed Elvis Andrus to reach with one out. Three batters later, Rios delivered a run-scoring double to right field that scored Andrus for a 2-0 Rangers lead.
Keuchel was one strike away from an exceptional start, but he plunked Craig Gentry with a pitch to load the bases with two outs in the ninth inning. Jurickson Profar followed with a two-run single and Leonys Martin's RBI single chased Keuchel and changed his line dramatically.
NOTES: Despite pinch running in the eighth inning and serving as a defensive replacement Saturday night, Astros SS Jonathan Villar (left thumb) was held out of the starting lineup again on Sunday because Texas started the left-handed Perez. In 386 plate appearances with Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, Villar posted a .620 OPS against southpaws compared to an .853 OPS against right-handers. Texas will start RHP Yu Darvish on Monday and Villar will return to the lineup. ... Infielder Leury Garcia, the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox to the Rangers, cleared waivers on Sunday to officially complete the transaction.