LOS ANGELES -- To gain perspective on how much the season has been such a struggle for left-hander Oliver Perez, consider this: Saturday's relief appearance, in which he surrendered a walk-off home run to Dodgers first baseman James Loney, could somewhat be described as a step in the right direction.
Perez came out of the bullpen in the 12th inning with runners on second and third and one out, and the reliever so often vilified by Mets fans proceeded to get Andre Ethier to foul out and Jamey Carroll to weakly ground out to second with the bases loaded.
Though Perez lost the game in the 13th, manager Jerry Manuel thought he showed improvement.
"I thought he threw the ball pretty good yesterday, compared to Arizona," Manuel said. "The ball coming out of his hand was a little better yesterday. Hopefully, that becomes serviceable for us."
In 2 1/3 innings this month, Perez has allowed two hits and three walks, and has hit one batter.