Over the past month and a half, the best starting pitcher in a Texas Rangers uniform had been rookie lefty Martin Perez, the 22-year-old who took home AL Rookie of the Month honors for August and entered Tuesday night's game with a 6-0 record and a 2.54 ERA in his six previous starts.
He was basically becoming an automatic, salvaging a win in the Rangers' last series with the first-place Oakland A's and just being Mr. Reliable.
On Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was far from terrible. In fact, he wasn't even that bad. He just wasn't good enough to get a win with a struggling offense supporting him.
Perez cruised through four innings relatively unharmed, pitching out of jams and allowing just one run, then in the sixth, his wheels came off, as he gave up four straight hits and three runs and was chased while throwing just 73 pitches.
Perez's fastball began staying up in the zone, and the good Pirates hitters made him pay for it.
The young lefty wasn't going to go the rest of the season without a loss, and that came on Tuesday, but the Rangers hope he can get back on track this weekend against Oakland.