Perez regresses, but Mets end bad trip with win
PHOENIX - PHOENIX - Omir Santos had the dizzying job of catching Oliver Perez during yesterday's matinee at Chase Field. As if that wasn't enough, Santos was later flattened when a charging Mark Reynolds wiped him out on a play at the plate.
But when asked to describe the performance of Perez in the wake of the Mets' 6-4 victory over the Diamondbacks, it was Santos who provided a clear analysis through the lingering fog inside his head.
Perez had allowed six hits and six walks in 51/3 innings, but somehow limited Arizona to a single run. Overall, it was a disappointment, especially coming off what was considered his best start of the season last Friday in San Diego.
"That's the way he likes to pitch," Santos said. "He likes to have men on base. He does - we don't."
The only thing the Mets liked about Perez's outing Wednesday was the result and he was long gone by the time the outcome was determined. After the D-backs rallied to tie the score at 3 in the seventh, Luis Castillo delivered the go-ahead, RBI single off Jon Rauch in the eighth.
Cory Sullivan, making his second straight start over Angel Pagan, then followed with his second triple of the game to help the Mets wrap the road trip at 2-5. They also had plenty of help from the D-backs. The Mets took advantage of three wild pitches and a passed ball and twice scored runs on them.
"Anything that comes our way, we've got to take advantage of it," Jerry Manuel said.
Speaking of adversity, the Mets announced during the game that Carlos Delgado had suffered a strained oblique muscle during his rehab and would have to wait at least another two weeks to resume baseball activity. They got another scare in the ninth inning when Manuel and trainer Ray Ramirez rushed to check on David Wright at second base after an infield single and error.
Wright didn't show any obvious signs of injury, but Manuel later said that his All-Star third baseman felt a strain in his knee. Wright remained in the game, and despite the manager's concern, dismissed any talk of being hurt afterward.
"I'm good to go," Wright said.
The Mets assumed that was the case with Perez, who allowed only two hits in 61/3 innings and struck out seven last Friday against the Padres. Manuel also raved about his side session heading into yesterday's series finale. But in typical Perez fashion, he followed that impressive performance with another head-scratcher, and Manuel had to pull him after throwing 111 pitches for the brief stint.
"It was a struggle for him," Manuel said. "But the one thing Ollie does is compete. He figures out a way to get out of it, and that's the good thing. He's a competitor. Eventually, we'll begin to see what we saw in San Diego. I think that's still to come."
As for Santos, he did a great job blocking the plate with his left leg to prevent Ryan Roberts from scoring in the third inning on Gerardo Parra's grounder to first base. In the seventh, he took a glove flip from Pedro Feliciano a split-second before a charging Reynolds hammered him.
"I knew he was going to hit me," Santos said. "I just tried to squeeze the ball as hard as I could and wait for the impact."
Any victory is memorable for the Mets these days. And the fact they survived a Perez start, as well as escaped without any significant injuries, was definitely a bonus.
"It's always fun to win," Wright said. "No matter the scenario."