SEATTLE -- Oliver Perez is in a very unfamiliar role coming out of the Mariners' bullpen, but the former starter has found a part of being a reliever he very much enjoys.
"I feel pretty good. I like being in tough situations," he said. "When I was a starter, we normally would have those situations. That's one of those things now, that's how you win games, trying to get outs in those tough situations. Now, as a reliever, that's your job, just keep your team in the game. Don't let the other team score when you're on the mound."
The 31-year-old, who is in his 10th year in the Majors, is getting accustomed to the ins and outs of relief pitching. For instance, he knows the danger of walks can be especially high for a reliever.
"I'd prefer they hit on contact on something because you have more guys there and they can make a play," he said. "You don't have to strike [them] out every time. I just have to try to be around the zone and try to throw the [fewest] pitches in an inning."
So far, it's been as successful as Perez could have hoped. The southpaw hasn't allowed a run in his past 18 appearances -- a stretch of 13 1/3 innings -- since July 8. He joins the Orioles' Troy Patton as one of two relievers in the American League to throw more than six innings in that span without allowing any runs.
"He's done a great job this year and has pitched so effectively for us and really had some big outs for us," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He's handled right-handers pretty well, and I think he'll continue to get better against left-handers. He's starting to find his arm slot and doing a better job with his secondary stuff against left-handers. And it's good stuff. His location has been better. I've been really pleased with what we've seen from Oliver."