The loss of Nelson Cruz is going to bite the Texas Rangers’ offense at some point over the next few months but nothing much has changed for the five pitchers in the starting rotation.

After all runs have been hard to come by much of the season.

Their task is to give their team a chance something they have done as well as any team’s rotation of late and something Martin Perez did Monday night for a second consecutive start.

Good stuff from Perez has been the norm for him this season save for two rough starts last month and the young left-hander continues to solidify his spot every fifth day.

Perez allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings and Elvis Andrus had a two-run triple on a scary play in a three-run fifth inning as the Rangers beat the Los Angels Angels 5-2 to open a three-game series.

“He just looks like a pitcher a left-handed pitcher” manager Ron Washington said. “He’s been under more control he hasn’t been letting the game get too quick on him and he’s been executing his pitches.”

Adrian Beltre homered and Jurickson Profar had an RBI single in a two-run sixth as the Rangers moved within two games of first-place Oakland in the American League West and took a half-game lead over Cleveland for the second wild-card entry into the playoffs.

But the Rangers had to endure some tense moments in the seventh and eighth innings before closing out their seventh win in the past eight games and their first win without Cruz who was suspended 50 games Monday afternoon for taking performance-enhancing drugs.

“All of the sudden we’re not going to stop putting runs on the board” Washington said. “We’re going to play the game that we always play maybe with a little less power because Cruz isn’t in there but we’ve got guys that are capable of getting runs across the plate.”

The Angels scored a run in the first against Perez who should have worked a scoreless inning after a one-out single by Mike Trout. But with two outs Mark Trumbo lofted a towering fly ball into the right-field corner where Cruz-replacement David Murphy misjudged it and saw it fall for an RBI double.

Jerome Williams carried the 1-0 lead into the fifth and was on the verge of escaping the inning after the Rangers loaded the bases with one out. Williams struck out Leonys Martin but uncorked a wild pitch on the next pitch to allow Murphy to score the tying run.