Homers sting Perez in loss to Tribe

Homers sting Perez in loss to Tribe

at Winter Haven, Fla.
Saturday, March 22

Indians at the plate: The Indians got homer-happy against Oliver Perez on this gloomy, rain-filled afternoon, in which the game was called after seven innings. Victor Martinez hit a leadoff shot to left field in the second inning. In the fourth, Asdrubal Cabrera, Casey Blake and Ben Francisco all went deep.

Mets at the plate: The Mets' bats were quiet early. They didn't get on the board until Carlos Beltran hit a solo homer off Scott Elarton in the sixth. Beltran sent the ball hurtling into the condo development that borders the Chain of Lakes facility.

Indians on the mound: Cliff Lee might have wrapped up the fifth starter's job with his performance. He went five scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out five. Aaron Laffey and Jeremy Sowers will pitch Monday against the Braves, but the No. 5 job will probably go to Lee. Elarton, vying for the final spot in the bullpen, gave up the Beltran homer and nothing else in an inning of work.

Mets on the mound: Perez was elevating his pitches, as evidenced by the four jacks he served up in five innings of work. In all, he was responsible for five runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

Grapefruit League records: Indians 11-12-2; Mets 16-8-1.

Up next for the Indians: For one last time Sunday, the Indians and Tigers will face each other in a game that doesn't count, before their expected battle for the AL Central title begins in earnest. Right-hander Fausto Carmona will get the 1:05 p.m. ET start in Lakeland, Fla., opposite right-hander Jeremy Bonderman. Tom Mastny, Rafael Perez, Jensen Lewis and Joe Borowski are also scheduled to pitch for the Tribe.

Up next for the Mets: With only a week's worth of Spring Training games left to play, Orlando Hernandez -- new windup and all -- will make his Grapefruit League debut against the Cardinals on Sunday. And if the fifth starter's battle wasn't already planted at the center of manager Willie Randolph's consciousness, it will be now. Scheduled to follow El Duque to the mound is Mike Pelfrey, who has posted a 5.54 ERA over four Grapefruit League starts while gunning for the fifth starter's role all spring. Right-hander Todd Wellemeyer will start for the Cards in the 1:10 p.m. game at Tradition Field.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.