Perez returns to form vs. Orioles

Perez returns to form vs. Orioles

at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Wednesday, March 12

Orioles at the plate: Jay Gibbons doubled and scored on a single by Aubrey Huff in the first inning. A leadoff double by highly touted rookie center fielder Adam Jones and a single by Oscar Salazar produced a run in the seventh.

Mets at the plate: Angel Pagan was excluded from the starting lineup on Wednesday, a rarity in this Mets camp of injured outfielders. But he did pinch-hit against the Orioles and took advantage of his one at-bat. He hit a pinch-hit two-run home run in the seventh inning off Ryan Bukvich to give the Mets a 4-2 lead.

Jose Reyes produced one of "those" days -- sort of. He tripled in the first inning and scored almost immediately on an opposite-field single to left by Fernando Martinez. The Mets' second run was an indirect result of Reyes' skill. He hit a hot ground ball to shortstop, with Robinson Cancel at second base. Shortstop Luis Hernandez handled the ball cleanly, but his rushed throw was low and bounced past first baseman Huff for an error, which allowed Cancel to score.

Orioles on the mound: Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie pitched four innings, allowing three hits, no walks and striking out four.

Mets on the mound: Oliver Perez, making his third exhibition game start, was quite effective in his four innings. He allowed a run in the first inning and one single in his final three frames. He struck out one and walked none. Billy Wagner pitched the fifth and got a swing and a miss on his new changeup. Aaron Heilman pitched a scoreless sixth before Duaner Sanchez allowed a run in the seventh. Reliever Joe Smith got three outs in a scoreless eighth, throwing nine pitches, eight for strikes.

Grapefruit League records: Orioles 6-6-2, Mets 9-4-1.

Up next for the Orioles: Baltimore plays Minnesota in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Jon Leicester is to be the Orioles' starter, and he'll be followed by Chad Bradford. Right-hander Nick Blackburn will start for the Twins.

Up next for the Mets: In his three big league camps, Mike Pelfrey has started on the road twice -- last year and this spring in Lakeland, Fla., against the Tigers. He'll get to broaden his horizons on Thursday, when he pitches in Jupiter, Fla., against the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. ET. He is to be followed by Matt Wise, Pedro Feliciano and Jorge Sosa. The Cardinals listed former Mets closer Braden Looper as their starter, but no other pitchers.

Marty Noble is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.