Perez outduels Clemens as Mets snap losing streakJun 16, 2007 - 4:35 AM
Perez scattered five hits in 7 1/3 innings, was backed by two RBI from Jose Reyes and an outstanding defensive play from rookie Carlos Gomez as the Mets ended a season-high five-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday.
The Mets won for the first time since Jorge Sosa blanked Detroit for eight innings a week ago. It also was just their second win in the last 11 games and ended the Yankees' nine-game winning streak.
"We came today to the park and everybody (was) thinking positive and I think that was the key tonight," Perez said.
Perez had lost his previous two starts, allowing a combined eight runs and 11 hits in losses to Arizona and Detroit.
"When he's in rhythm he's great," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "What can you say? We just always have to keep him in his rhythm and in his groove. Every once in a while he gets away from himself and drives you a little nuts."
In the opener of the "Subway Series", he looked like the pitcher who recorded three straight victories a month ago as he retired 12 of the final 13 hitters and allowed just one hit after the second inning.
"(It was) a superb game for him," Randolph added. "If he keeps his focus, keeps pounding the zone and extending his arm angle, he's great. He gave up a couple of hits early, but then he settled down and he kept them at bay. But when he's on, he's tough to hit."
That streak was from May 1-23 and Perez allowed three runs and 11 hits. It also came during a stretch in which the Mets were headed towards another magical season and the Yankees were headed for a long summer with a 5-13 slide that included a 3-2 loss to Perez on May 18.
Four weeks later, Perez was even better. He threw 117 pitches, struck out six and departed after Derek Jeter lined a double to right field.
"He was effectively wild," said Yankees catcher Jorge Posada of Perez. "That's probably the easy way to put it. We hit the ball real hard today. We really can't look at those things. He pitched a helluva ballgame."
Lefthander Pedro Feliciano came on to face Bobby Abreu, whose flyout to center field, advanced Jeter. Rookie Joe Smith finished the eighth by getting Alex Rodriguez on a groundout to third.
Closer Billy Wagner pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to record his 15th save in 16 opportunities. At Shea Stadium, the 25-year-old Perez (7-5) limited the Yankees to two runs and five hits over 7 2/3 innings and was backed by an Endy Chavez home run off Andy Pettitte. Four weeks later it was a similar result for Perez as Reyes and Gomez were responsible for both runs.
Reyes and Gomez teamed up to manufacture the first run in the third. Gomez led off with a bunt base hit, stole second and raced home when Reyes slapped a 2-2 pitch from Roger Clemens (1-1) into center field.
"You keep the speed together," Randolph said. "He's (Gomez) the type of kid that gets on base and makes things happen. He just brings a lot of energy, I love his energy."
The Mets almost fell behind by two runs in the bottom of the fourth as Perez opened the frame by walking Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano. But with one out, Miguel Cairo swung at Perez's first pitch and appeared to have at least an extra base and possibly a three-run home run.
"When I see the ball, I (initially said 'oh my gosh, (it's going to be) a home run," Gomez said. "(I took) three or four steps, kept going and said, keep going, going. When I saw no grass I felt I had to jump."
"I didn't even see it," Randolph admitted. "I didn't think it was going to be out. If the ball is up there for a long time, I figure he's going to catch it. I was just hoping that it was going to go foul or obviously stay in the ballpark."
Cairo's potential hit was taken away by Gomez, who timed his jump perfectly and caught the ball in front of the fence. He then threw a perfect relay throw to second baseman Jose Valentin, who completed the double play.
"That was one of the game breakers because if they hit a homer, they would have taken the lead and I think that was the key for tonight," Perez said.
The Mets added to their lead with one out in the fifth as Reyes crushed Clemens' first pitch off the facing of the upper deck in right field. It was Reyes' third home run and first since April 21 vs. Atlanta.
"It was a curveball," Reyes said. "When you hit a home run against Roger Clemens, it's something you don't forget"
In his second start since returning to the Yankees, Clemens was sharper than last Saturday's win over Pittsburgh. He lasted 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs and seven hits.
"I thought his stuff was better, his command was better and of course his energy is always there," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "To want to go out there in the seventh inning I thought it was good. I thought his stuff was better and I thought he was able to command it pretty well."
"You want to be aggressive," said Clemens, who was denied his 350th career victory. "Obviously this is a little different situation with this ball club when you look around at the type of hitting we have around here. I'm not happy about it at all. I'll go right back to work tomorrow and try to continue to get stronger and make good pitches and give my guys a chance. That's really all you can do."
Reyes and Gomez combined for five hits off Clemens. The rest of the Mets' lineup did little off the seven-time Cy Young Award winner, who recorded eight strikeouts.
Reyes was on base four times and tied a career high with three stolen bases.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
NY METS 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 7 0
NY YANKEES 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: NYM - OLIVER PEREZ, PEDRO FELICIANO (8TH), JOE SMITH (8TH), BILLY
WAGNER (9TH) AND PAUL LO DUCA
NYY - ROGER CLEMENS, LUIS VIZCAINO (7TH), MIKE MYERS
(8TH), BRIAN B
Jun 15 10:10 PM
AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY JOSE REYES (3) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
5TH OFF ROGER CLEMENS.
CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 2, NY YANKEES 0
DUE UP FOR NY METS: C BELTRAN (.275, 1-FOR-2)
Mets vs. YankeesJun 15 8:39 PM
AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY JOSE REYES SCORED CARLOS GOMEZ.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J REYES ON FIRST, 0 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: NY METS 1
NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 3RD
DUE UP FOR NY METS: C BELTRAN (.277, 1-FOR-1)
Mets vs. YankeesJun 15 7:56 PM
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