ARLINGTON, Texas — Martin Perez is taking a positive feeling into the offseason.
The 26-year-old lefty made his final start of the season in the Texas Rangers’ 5-3 win against the Oakland Athletics, allowing just three runs and five hits as he set a new career high with 13 wins.
Eight of those wins have come in Perez’ last 11 starts and he finished with a team-high 32 starts.
“I find my rhythm and I feel something right now that I’ve never felt before,” Perez said. “I’m just going to work a lot on my mechanics so I don’t lose the feeling I have. It was fun, the last two months, and it gives a lot of wins to my team. We don’t make the playoffs but we finished strong.”
Shin-Soo Choo tied a career high with his 22nd home run as Texas ended a seven-game skid. The loss guaranteed Oakland would finish last in the AL West.
A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell took a knee during the national anthem and was booed by a portion of the crowd before and after the song.
It was the first time Maxwell has taken a knee on the field in an opposing ballpark. He took a knee during the anthem on Thursday, but he was warming up starting pitcher Sean Manaea in the bullpen and out of view from television cameras and fans.
Maxwell wasn’t in the lineup Friday, and took a knee alongside his standing teammates in front of the dugout. He entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh and grounded out to second.
Perez had an early lead to work with after Choo and Elvis Andrus scored on an infield single by Nomar Mazara in the first.
The single gave Mazara 99 RBI for the season. With an RBI in the final two games, Mazara would become the just the second Ranger in the past five seasons to have 100 RBI in a season.
Choo homered on the first pitch he saw in the fifth and doubled the lead to 4-0.
“I think Choo’s had an outstanding season. You look at the power numbers, the walks, the on-base, he’s played defense very well,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “It’s been a really nice year for Choo.”
It was the final pitch of the night for A’s starter Raul Alcantara (1-2), who allowed five hits and four runs in 4⅓ innings.
“Good stuff again today,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “The home run was his undoing.”
Texas tacked on another run in the fifth against reliever Sam Moll when Mazara scored on Willie Calhoun’s single to left. Renato Nunez hit a three-run homer, his first in the majors, in the seventh to cut the lead to 5-3.
“Amazing,” Nunez said. “It’s a moment that’s been in my dreams all my life, so that’s pretty exciting.”
Nunez had a chance to give Oakland the lead in the eighth, but struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Alex Claudio worked a scoreless ninth to pick up his 11th save for Texas.
Teresa and Lloyd Price exchanged vows and were married between the second and third inning. They wore Rangers jerseys and the wedding was officiated by a judge that had come to the game with the couple.
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