PIRATES Ex-Padre Perez pitches win in San Diego



Home runs by Randall Simon and Humberto Cota were instrumental.
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Oliver Perez celebrated his return to San Diego with a victory.
Perez pitched into the seventh inning against his former team, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 win over the Padres on Sunday.
Perez, a native of Mexico, faced the Padres in San Diego for the first time since he was traded to Pittsburgh last August in a four-player trade. He had a group of about 20 family and friends in attendance.
"It was special," he said. "I had a lot of family here, so I tried to focus on the game."
Perez certainly appeared to be able to focus, allowing two runs and five hits in 61/3 innings. He struck out five and walked four.
The receiver
"Oliver was lights out," said catcher Humberto Cota, Perez's fellow countryman who also had a group of about 20 friends and family in attendance.
"I told him to just relax and pitch his game," Cota said. "He didn't try to do too much."
Perez (7-6) received a huge lift from Randall Simon, who hit a go-ahead solo homer in the sixth, and Cota, who also had a solo homer.
Jose Mesa pitched the ninth, getting Khalil Greene to fly out to right with runners on first and second, for his 32nd save in 34 chances.
Pittsburgh won consecutive road games for the first time since ending a three-game road winning streak on July 5. The Pirates won for just the third time in 11 games overall.
Perez also pitched in front of a group of friends and family in his last start on Tuesday at Los Angeles, a 3-2 loss, but fared much better this time.
"I was very proud of how he handled himself [Sunday]," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He was outstanding. I thought he was much more under control, a lot more poised."
Padre highlight
Perez allowed a two-run homer to Mark Loretta in the third, but little else. The only other time the Padres threatened against Perez, he received an assist from Rob Mackowiak. The Pirates right fielder threw out Rich Aurilia on a one-hop throw to Cota in the fourth when Aurilia attempted to score from third on Brian Buchanan's fly ball.
Cota homered off Brian Lawrence (11-9) to tie it at 2 in the fourth, and Simon's homer leading off the sixth put the Pirates ahead 3-2.
Craig Wilson added an RBI double in the ninth for the Pirates.
Lawrence failed in his second consecutive start to equal his career high for wins, and has lost four of his last five decisions. He allowed three runs and nine hits, and was pulled after he failed to retire the first three batters of the sixth.
San Diego lost for the sixth time in seven games, all at home.
"When you're falling short, the frustration builds up," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said.
In Perez's only other start against San Diego, he took the loss in a 7-3 defeat at Pittsburgh on May 19 when he lasted only three innings.
San Diego threatened in the eighth when Phil Nevin doubled off the right-field wall against reliever Brian Meadows. Aurilia then hit a fly ball that Tike Redman caught right in front of the center-field fence.
"We had our chances," Nevin said. "We didn't make Ollie throw strikes and we knew we needed to do that. He looked very good at times, though."
Late Saturday
Kip Wells allowed four hits in 82/3 innings for his first win since July 5, and the Pirates topped the Padres 3-1 Saturday night to end a five-game losing streak.
Wells (5-6) gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth inning to fall two outs short of his first complete game since Sept. 7, 2003. He earned just his second victory in 14 starts and broke a five-game winless streak in which he went 0-1 with four no-decisions.

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