Perez pitches 6 1/3 scoreless innings for first win

CHICAGO (AP) -- Oliver Perez was winless in his first four

starts, struggling with his control as his ERA swelled to 9.00.

Against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, the 21-year-old

left-hander looked like a poised veteran.

"It's great to see him full of confidence," Padres manager

Bruce Bochy said after San Diego's 2-1 win. "Hopefully, it is

something we can build on."

Perez (1-2) was given a 2-0 lead in the third inning and that

was all he needed. He struck out six in 6 1/3 scoreless innings,

allowing six hits and walking two as he lowered his ERA to 6.66.

Coming in, he had walked 18 batters in 18 innings.

"He's got a great arm, good stuff," Padres second baseman

Keith Lockhart said. "It looked like he was under control today

and had better command. We needed him today."

Chicago lost consecutive games for only the second time this

season -- the other was on April 10-11 against Montreal.

Matt Clement (2-2) gave up both runs and six hits in seven

innings, striking out four and walking one.

San Diego got its runs when Ramon Vazquez singled and scored on

a double by Keith Lockhart, who came around on a single by Ryan


"Unfortunately they strung together those three hits on me

today," Clement said. "You wouldn't think in the third inning

that that would cost you the game. But that's the way baseball is


Cubs manager Dusty Baker called Perez "effectively wild."

"He was in and out of the zone," Baker said. "He was changing

speeds, using his curve ball. He threw a good game."

Perez gave up three hits in the Cubs first, but escaped without

a run when Mark Grudzielanek grounded into a double play and Moises

Alou took a called third strike with two on. Alou leaned back

thinking the pitch was inside and reacted in disbelief at the call

by plate umpire Terry Craft.

Perez, now 21, then retired the next nine batters. He got out of

a jam once again in the fifth when Tom Goodwin took a third strike

with two outs and runners on second and third.

After Eric Karros doubled in the seventh and Ramon Martinez

singled, Luther Hackman struck out Damian Miller and Mike Matthews

retired Lenny Harris on a popout.

"We had opportunities," Baker said. "Invariably those runs

are going to haunt you."

Goodwin scored in the eighth on Grudzielanek's grounder off

Jaret Wright after reaching on an infield hit, stealing second and

taking third on a wild pitch. Wright finished the seven-hitter for

his second save.

Game notes

Vazquez, San Diego's leadoff man, has reached base safely

in 20 of 22 games this year. ... Cubs closer Antonio Alfonseca, on

the DL since March 21 because of a strained right hamstring, threw

off the mound at Wrigley Field. He will be sent to Triple-A Iowa on

a rehabilitation assignment.