NEW YORK — In his 11th major league season, Martín Pérez is making a strong pitch for his first All-Star selection this month.
Pérez won his seventh straight decision, Kole Calhoun hit two of Texas' four home runs and the Rangers beat the New York Mets 7-3 on Saturday.
“Good team win all the way around,” Calhoun said after breaking out of a slump.
New York lost for the fourth time in five games and its lead in the NL East was shaved to 2 1/2 games over Atlanta — the smallest its been since April 30. The Mets were up by 10 1/2 games on June 1.
Calhoun smacked a three-run shot off spot starter Trevor Williams in the second inning and third-year catcher Jonah Heim followed with his career-high 11th homer to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead. Both drives reached the front of the second deck in right field, giving Texas its fifth set of back-to-back home runs this season.
Starling Marte launched an early two-run homer and Eduardo Escobar also went deep against Pérez (7-2), who had given up only two long balls in 15 starts covering 93 1/3 innings coming in.
“He’s been huge for us all season. He’s worked deep into games. He works quick, keeps the defense involved, and has definitely stopped the bleeding from time to time this year,” Calhoun said. “He’s pitched in some tight ones, so it’s nice to get him a little breathing room.”
The 31-year-old lefty permitted seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. He is 7-0 in his last 11 starts, and his 2.34 ERA ranks among the American League leaders.
“My big thing is, I don’t want them to use the bullpen when I pitch. I’m just trying to go deep,” Pérez said. “Today was perfect.”
After losing his first two starts this season, Pérez is unbeaten in his last 14 — a career best. His seven-game winning streak matches a career high set in 2017, and Texas has won 11 of his past 12 outings.
Quite a jump for a veteran pitcher who began the day with a 69-71 career record and 4.52 ERA.
“He's executing. Before he would miss a lot more,” Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “He's always been good. He's always been elite. He just didn't execute as much.”
As for that All-Star resume? Pérez said he's not thinking about getting picked — but Calhoun was happy to stump for his teammate. “He definitely deserves it, 100%,” the outfielder said.
Dennis Santana got four outs in relief, and Joe Barlow finished up.
Calhoun, who struck out all four times up in Friday night's loss, sent an opposite-field solo shot to left in the fourth for his ninth career multi-homer game and second this season. He batted just .181 in his previous 24 games. Trainer’s room
Mets: 2B/LF Jeff McNeil was out of the starting lineup to rest his right leg and flied out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. McNeil returned Tuesday after missing five games with hamstring tightness. “Just managing the leg, making sure we take some precautions,” Showalter said. “He doesn't have any pain, any restrictions. Just kind of, you can tell he's a little tentative about it." Baby watch
Mets LHP David Peterson traveled to Denver to join wife Alex, who is expecting the couple’s first child. Peterson moved up a day and pitched six innings Friday night in Bassitt's place, striking out 10 in a 4-3 win. He won't be replaced on the active roster until the team formally puts Peterson on the paternity list, but it's uncertain who will start Wednesday in Cincinnati when his next turn in the rotation comes up.Up next
Texas RHP Jon Gray (4-3, 3.89 ERA) tries to win his career-best fourth straight start Sunday when he faces RHP Carlos Carrasco (8-4, 4.85) in the series finale. Gray is 1-2 with an 8.87 ERA in five career games against the Mets. Carrasco is coming off a pair of rough outings in consecutive losses to Houston.