Mets
Braves
3 - 0 Final
  for this game

Perez dominant as Mets blank Braves

May 24, 2007 - 4:49 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Too bad Oliver Perez could not start every time the New York Mets faced the Atlanta Braves.

Perez pitched seven scoreless innings to record his third win against Atlanta this season and power the Mets to a 3-0 victory Wednesday.

The teams have faced each other eight times this season, with Atlanta winning five. If not for Perez, New York's fate may have been much worse.

"I guess it's a little odd (that Perez has all three wins)," Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca said. "We felt this was a big game for us. You don't want to go into the series facing John Smoltz (on Thursday) down 0-2. This was a good game to win."

The 25-year-old lefthander had dominated the Braves this season, striking out 15 and allowing just three runs in 13 2/3 innings in his first two starts against them.

On Wednesday, Perez (6-3) again came up huge against the Mets' perennial nemesis to extend their lead over Atlanta in the National League East Division to 2 1/2 games.

"We're battling with the Braves to be first in the division," Perez said. "You just have to keep playing. I'm trying to relax and not think about every pitch. I was feeling good late in the game."

The Mexican southpaw scattered four hits in seven scoreless frames, struck out five and walked two to win his third straight decision and improve to 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA in five starts against Atlanta since joining the Mets last season.

David Wright homered in the fifth for the Mets, who avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season.

"I feel comfortable out there," Wright said. "I faced (Atlanta starter Chuck) James a few times now. You have to pick if you sit on his fastball or changeup. I went up there and concentrated on one pitch."

Perez threw a season-high 122 pitches - 81 strikes - to dispatch of a righthanded-laden Atlanta lineup that was resting lefthanded regulars Brian McCann, Kelly Johnson and Scott Thorman. He retired 13 of the last 15 batters he faced en route to winning three straight decisions for the first time in his career.

"Too much Perez tonight," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "It doesn't surprise me that he's beaten us three times. He's that good. I think he's one of the toughest guys we've seen."

Atlanta's best threat against Perez came in the bottom of the third. James (4-4) led off the frame by singling to left to collect his first hit in 13 at-bats this season and advanced to second on a wild pitch.

Right fielder Shawn Green made a nice diving catch on a foulout by Martin Prado to record the first out of the frame, but James tagged and advanced to third.

Perez walked Edgar Renteria before inducing Chipper Jones to line out to first, and loaded the bases after hitting Jeff Francoeur with a pitch. But the lefthander induced Matt Diaz to fly out to right to end the threat.

"Perez bears down with runners in scoring position and makes pitches when he has to," Lo Duca said. "He gets a lot of swings and misses too. He can strike out a lot of guys; that's key."

Rookie Joe Smith worked a scoreless eighth and Billy Wagner pitched around a two-out base hit to Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the ninth to complete the shutout and pick up his 11th save.

New York took a 1-0 lead thanks to an unearned run in the third.

James issued a one-out free pass to Jose Reyes, who advanced to second on Green's single and scored on Prado's fielding error, when the rookie failed to catch a throw by catcher Saltalamacchia on a double steal.

New York loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth with successive singles by Lo Duca, Carlos Delgado and Damion Easley, but only could plate one run on a sacrifice fly by Chris Gomez.

James allowed three runs - two earned - and seven hits, walked three and struck out two in 4 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old southpaw has pitched into the seventh inning in just one of his 10 starts this season.

"It's kind of the same old story," James said. "I can't get into a groove. I feel like every time I go out there, I'm trying to work on throwing strikes. I couldn't get my fastball over for strikes. I had to throw more changeups. Once you throw too many changeups, guys are sitting on it."

Saltalamacchia had two hits for the Braves, who were shut out for the third time this season.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    NY METS 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 7 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: NYM - OLIVER PEREZ, JOE SMITH (8TH), BILLY WAGNER (9TH) AND PAUL LO
    DUCA
    ATL - CHUCK JAMES, CHAD PARONTO (5TH), PETER MOYLAN
    (6TH), OSCAR VILLARREAL (8TH), TYLER Y

    May 23 10:30 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DAVID WRIGHT (8) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    5TH OFF CHUCK JAMES.
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 3, ATLANTA 0
    DUE UP FOR NY METS: P LO DUCA (.309, 1-FOR-2)

    Mets vs. BravesMay 23 8:57 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY CARLOS GOMEZ SCORED PAUL LO DUCA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D EASLEY ON FIRST, C DELGADO ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 2
    ATLANTA 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR NY METS: O PEREZ (.350, 0-FOR-1)

    Mets vs. BravesMay 23 8:39 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA ALLOWED JOSE REYES TO
    SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, S GREEN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 1
    ATLANTA 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR NY METS: C BELTRAN (.302, 0-FOR-1)

    Mets vs. BravesMay 23 8:13 PM