|The Mets' Oliver Perez won his third straight start while improving to 3-0 against the Braves this season. (GREGORY SMITH/ASSOCIATED PRESS)|
Perez is positively sublime
Mets starter goes seven as Braves get blanked
Oliver Perez pitched seven scoreless innings, David Wright hit his fourth homer in the last four games, and the New York Mets shut out the Braves, 3-0, last night in Atlanta, increasing their National League East lead over their rivals to 2 1/2 games.
Perez (6-3) gave up only four hits and two walks in seven innings. The lefthander struck out five while winning his third straight start. Perez improved to 3-0 against the Braves this season, including two wins at Atlanta.
Joe Smith pitched a perfect eighth and Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 11th save to complete the five-hitter.
Wright hit cleanup for the third time this season, and his eighth homer -- all in May -- was a liner to left that gave the Mets a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning. Wright hit three homers in the last two games of a weekend series against the Yankees.
Perez gave up first-inning singles to Edgar Renteria and Chipper Jones and then gave up only one more hit -- a third-inning single by Braves starting pitcher Chuck James -- in the next five innings.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the seventh with a single for Atlanta's fourth hit off Perez. Chris Woodward and pinch hitter Kelly Johnson struck out looking and Martin Prado popped out to Delgado at first base to end the inning.
James (4-4) gave up seven hits and three runs, two earned, in 4 2/3 innings. He walked three batters and recorded two strikeouts.
Royals 11, Indians 7 -- John Buck and Mike Sweeney each homered for the second straight game, fueling a five-run second that propelled host Kansas City to its eighth win in 10 games.
Buck added an RBI double and Alex Gordon also homered and drove in two runs for the Royals. Reliever Brandon Duckworth (2-3), who went three strong innings, inherited a lead but was credited with the victory because starter Scott Elarton failed to go five innings. Indians starter Cliff Lee (2-1) also failed to get out of the fifth despite being staked to an early 3-0 lead.
Orioles 5, Blue Jays 2 -- Corey Patterson stole home at the end of a botched rundown and Brian Roberts reached base five times for host Baltimore, going 3 for 3 with two walks.
With the score tied at 1, Kevin Millar led off the Orioles' fifth with a walk and Patterson singled to end an 0-for-18 skid. Roberts followed with an RBI single, moving Patterson to third. With Melvin Mora at the plate, Roberts broke for second and got caught in a rundown. Patterson broke for home, and the throw from Toronto's Dustin McGowan (0-2) soared over the head of catcher Jason Phillips and bounced out of play. Patterson was credited with a steal of home, the first Oriole to do so since Chris Richard in 2001.
Tigers 8, Angels 7 -- Magglio Ordonez had his 20th two-homer game and host Detroit slugged four homers in all to snap Los Angeles's six-game winning streak.
Curtis Granderson homered and drove in three runs for the Tigers, who got to Angels starter Bartolo Colon (5-1) early. Mike Napoli's three-run homer in the eighth off Jose Mesa pulled the Angels within 7-6, but Detroit's bullpen held on.
Athletics 4, White Sox 0 -- Chad Gaudin (4-1) threw seven-plus scoreless innings, retiring 16 straight at one point, as Oakland avoided a sweep in Chicago.
Dodgers 5, Brewers 1 -- Russell Martin tied a career high with four RBIs and Brad Penny (6-1) stranded six runners in scoring position over seven innings to help Los Angeles stop visiting Milwaukee.
Cardinals 5, Pirates 3 -- Kip Wells (2-8) ended a seven-game losing streak for host St. Louis with seven strong innings and was backed by three home runs off Pittsburgh starter Ian Snell (4-3), including a two-run blast by Chris Duncan.
Twins 5, Rangers 3 -- Justin Morneau homered for the third time in two games, giving him 14 on the season, and Boof Bonser (3-1) won his third straight start to pace Minnesota in Arlington, Texas.
Padres 2, Cubs 1 -- Host San Diego got a two-run homer from Kevin Kouzmanoff and seven sparkling innings from David Wells (2-2), who earned his first win since April 24.
Giants 9, Astros 1 -- Bengie Molina hit a two-run triple and had four RBIs and Barry Zito (4-5) was strong over seven innings to carry host San Francisco to its fourth straight victory.
Rockies 2, Diamondbacks 0 -- At Phoenix, Ryan Spilborghs drove in both runs for Colorado to back Jeff Francis (3-4), who allowed just five singles over seven innings.
Nationals 12, Reds 7 -- Visiting Washington hit a season-high four homers, including two by Ryan Church, who drove in a career-best six runs.
Mariners 5, Devil Rays 1 -- Jose Guillen had four hits and two RBIs and Miguel Batista (4-4) gave up one run in six innings for visiting Seattle.