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Sunday, August 18
Updated: August 19, 3:28 PM ET
Mets manager says Perez tipped pitches

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Odalis Perez fired another strike at the New York Mets on Sunday, one day after flirting with a perfect game against them.

After the Los Angeles Dodgers beat New York 10-4 Saturday night, Mets manager Bobby Valentine said the left-hander gave hints as to what he was going to throw, especially before breaking pitches.

Perez, who retired the first 19 Mets hitters, was surprised to hear the claims Sunday. At first he said he didn't care, but then Perez responded.

"I'd like to keep tipping my pitches and throw the same game I did last night," said Perez (11-8). "Even if I was tipping my pitches, they couldn't hit it."

Perez was 0-4 in his previous six starts since winning July 5 at St. Louis. Of the 87 pitches he threw in seven innings, 61 were strikes.

"From now on, we're going to give it out," Dodgers pitching coach Jim Colborn said. "We're not going to put the fingers between the knees anymore if it's going to be that effective."

It was the second time this season Perez conjured thoughts of perfection. He threw a one-hit gem at the Chicago Cubs on April 26, facing the minimum 27 batters at Wrigley Field.

"I have 11 wins already," Perez said. "If I'm tipping my pitches how come the other teams don't say that?"

The timing of Valentine's comments was certainly curious. They were made after the Mets dropped their seventh straight game and 10th in a row at home as they continue their free fall that left them 11½ games behind the Dodgers in the wild-card race entering Sunday.

"You don't know with Bobby," Colborn said. "I don't understand why he'd say that, whether it's true or not. Maybe he has some other motive."

As miffed as Perez seemed to be, he tried to be diplomatic.

"They're a great team and they're having a bad time right now," he said of the 58-64 Mets. "Maybe that's an excuse for them."

Dodgers manager Jim Tracy called Valentine's remarks "very interesting" but didn't look to engage in a verbal war with his counterpart.

"We're glad to know that," he said, "but they didn't do a whole lot with it.

"I don't have a whole lot else to say about it because I don't spend a whole lot of time talking about other manager's opinions about my team. I don't think in two years you've heard me make too many comments about someone else on the other side. I don't play that game."

Mets catcher Vance Wilson, who didn't play Saturday night, said he didn't notice Perez tipping anything off but said he does look at opposition pitchers and those he catches.

"No question," he said. "Not only here, but you talk to your buddies on the other teams and see if you can't pick something up. You definitely watch it because you're trying to win a baseball game, and if your pitchers are giving something away, then yeah."

Perez hadn't heard the whispers -- until now.

"Colby hasn't told me about it, even my teammates haven't," he said.

It wasn't until Rey Ordonez drew a walk on a questionable 3-2 pitch with one out in the seventh that the Mets, who trailed 10-0, had a baserunner. Mike Piazza then launched Perez's next pitch over the Dodgers bullpen in left field to break up the no-hitter and the shutout.

"He was awfully good," Tracy said of Perez. "I'd be very interested to see Mike hit if they'd called that a strike."

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