Perez, Mets shut out MarlinsAug 9, 2008 - 4:19 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
FLUSHING, New York (Ticker) -- After a win earlier this season, New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel referred to Oliver Perez as "Big Game Ollie." That's exactly what the lefthander was on Friday.
Perez pitched seven outstanding innings as the Mets opened an important three-game series with a 3-0 victory over the Florida Marlins.
David Wright hit a two-run homer and Carlos Delgado added a solo shot for the Mets, who have won three of their last four following a 1-5 road trip through Houston and Florida.
The home runs were enough for Perez (8-7), who allowed just a one-out double by Wes Helms in the second inning and a two-out, two-base hit by Cody Ross in the seventh. Perez struck out eight, walked three and threw 67 of his season-high 120 pitches for strikes.
"When he throws strikes, he's got some of the best stuff in the league," Wright said. "It shows today."
It also was another big win for the inconsistent Perez, who improved to 7-0 against opponents with records over .500. Three of those wins have come against Florida and two vs. the New York Yankees, with Manuel introducing the nickname after the second
triumph over the crosstown rivals on June 29.
Perez's win also pushed the Mets (61-54) ahead of the Marlins (61-55) for second place in the National League East and within one game of the first-place Philadelphia Phillies (62-53).
"He's a big-game pitcher," Wright said. "He's a guy that wants the ball when he comes to a big game."
Manuel did not offer any nicknames following this one, instead pointing out how every game this time of year is important.
"For a good period of time, Ollie's been good for a while. He seems to be very confident now," Manuel said. "It just so happens that now, all the games are big and he seems to rise."
"When I pitched, I try to think the other team is the best team in baseball," Perez said. "I was feeling really strong. Right now, I feel good."
Perez's biggest trouble of the night came in the second, when he loaded the bases with one out with a walk to Ross. He was able to escape the jam when John Baker hit into a forceout at the plate and counterpart Ricky Nolasco struck out.
"Oliver pitched great tonight," Helms said. "We had our chances with the bases loaded in the second."
Perez allowed just one more baserunner before turning things over to the bullpen.
After the Mets failed to tack on more runs by leaving the bases loaded in the seventh, Aaron Heilman finished up with two perfect innings for his first save of the season and seventh career.
Nolasco (11-7) lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and seven hits.
It took just eight pitches for the Mets to take the lead as Wright hit an 0-2 fastball from Nolasco over the left-center field wall. It was the All-Star third baseman's 22nd home run of the season.
"It's unacceptable on my part, giving up two pitches they made me pay for," Nolasco said. "The counts were 0-2 and 1-2, and those are things that can't happen. That's a tough position I put my team in right there."
The Mets maintained the two-run advantage until the fourth, when Delgado blasted a 1-2 offering to left-center for his 24th blast.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
FLORIDA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
NY METS 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 x 3 7 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: FLA - RICKY NOLASCO, RENYEL PINTO (7TH), JUSTIN MILLER (8TH) AND
NYM - OLIVER PEREZ, AARON HEILMAN (8TH) AND BRIAN
HOME RUNS: FLA - NONE
Aug 8 9:48 PM
AT NY METS - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY CARLOS DELGADO (24) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 1
OUT IN THE 4TH OFF RICKY NOLASCO.
CURRENT SCORE: FLORIDA 0, NY METS 3
DUE UP FOR NY METS: C BELTRAN (.270, 0-FOR-1)
Marlins 0, Mets 3 Bot 4, 0 OutsAug 8 8:15 PM
AT NY METS - SCORING UPDATE
TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY DAVID WRIGHT (22) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
THE 1ST OFF RICKY NOLASCO SCORED DAN MURPHY.
CURRENT SCORE: FLORIDA 0, NY METS 2
DUE UP FOR NY METS: C DELGADO (.264, 23 HR, 70 RBI)
Marlins 0, Mets 2 Bot 1, 0 OutsAug 8 7:19 PM
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