Mets shutout Baltimore

March 20, 2009 3:22:47 PM PDT
Oliver Perez looked a lot better pitching for the New York Mets on Friday than he did competing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Perez pitched three scoreless innings to lead New York to a 4-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The left-hander walked two and allowed one hit in his first start since his shaky performance in the WBC.

"I think he was pretty good," manager Jerry Manuel said. "Obviously, you keep runs off the board, but I do think as we go forth, command has to be a little more consistent. ... It's not bad command, but you always want to see better."

Perez, who was 0-1 with a 9.45 ERA in two WBC appearances, retired the first eight hitters he faced before Chris Gomez doubled to left in the third. After walking Ryan Freel, Perez got Adam Jones to bounce an inning-ending fielder's choice.

Afterward, he said he thought home plate umpire Mike Estabrook was squeezing him.

"Sometimes you get mad, but you have to continue to focus and make pitches. ... I'm mad at myself," Perez said. "I was not making the first-pitch strikes."

Bobby Parnell followed Perez and tossed 2 2-3 innings, allowing five hits and striking out two. The right-hander lowered his spring ERA to 2.89 and appears to have cemented his position on the 25-man roster.

"It'd be very difficult, at this point, not to take (Parnell) with us," Manuel said. "Very, very tough. He's been that impressive."

Daniel Murphy drove in two runs for the Mets.

Right-hander Danys Baez, bidding for one of three open spots in the Orioles' rotation, allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings, matching the longest outing by a Baltimore starter this spring.

"I want to go deeper into the game," Baez said. "I want to be able to go six or seven innings so the bullpen can come in and hold them and we can win the ballgame."

Adam Jones went 2-for-5 for the Orioles, but Elmer Dessens coaxed him into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded in the ninth.

Notes: The Mets optioned LHP Jonathan Niese to the minors, leaving RHP Livan Hernandez as the team's likely fifth starter. New York also optioned C Robinson Cancel and RHP Connor Robertson and reassigned RHPs Kyle Snyder and Matt DeSalvo, and LHPs Jon Switzer, Casey Fossum and Heriberto Ruelas to its minor league camp. ... Baltimore made six cuts after the game, including releasing C Guillermo Quiroz, its backup all of last season, and RHP Scott Chiasson, who asked for his release so he could join a team in the Mexican League. The Orioles also optioned OF Nolan Reimold and LHP Wilfrido Perez to Triple-A Norfolk and reassigned INFs Brandon Snyder and Blake Davis to their minor league camp in Sarasota, Fla.