With just 25 starts as a major leaguer, Williams Perez hasn't had much time to develop any kind of dominance over a single opponent.
The Philadelphia Phillies may be thinking otherwise.
Perez seeks a fourth consecutive winning start against the Phillies on Saturday with a chance to give the Atlanta Braves a rare series victory.
The four starts Perez has made against Philadelphia are his most versus any team. The right-hander struggled in the first matchup in July but has gone 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA in the next three, allowing 14 hits in 20 2/3 innings while waking one and striking out 17.
The best of those performances came May 11, when he yielded one run and two hits over eight innings in a 5-1 victory just hours after he was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. Perez (1-1, 4.78 ERA) retired the first 12 batters and faced only one batter over the minimum.
He was unable to carry that success into his most recent outing, giving up six runs and nine hits over six innings Monday in an 8-5 loss at Pittsburgh.
“I thought (Perez) pitched well,” Fredi Gonzalez, who learned he was fired as manager after the game, told MLB's official website. “He's a contact guy. They made contact against him.”
Freddie Freeman made the best kind of contact Friday with a pair of two-run homers to back Matt Wisler's strong start, leading Atlanta to a series-opening 7-1 win. Nick Markakis added his first home run to give the Braves (11-30) a season-high three.
''All I'm trying to do is hit a line drive to left field and put backspin on it,'' said Freeman, batting .483 with four homers and 11 RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak against the Phillies (24-18).
Atlanta has gone deep nine times in five games after totaling seven homers in the previous 35.
''They all want to do good, and everybody presses and wants to be the guy to get you off the mat,'' interim manager Brian Snitker said. ''You get going like that and guys start swinging the bat and relaxing and doing what they're capable of doing.''
A victory in either of the next two days would give the Braves their second series win and first since a three-game sweep at Miami from April 15-17. They no longer hold baseball's worst record, surpassing Minnesota by one game.
Philadelphia dropped to 4-3 on a nine-game homestand with its sixth loss in the past eight meetings with the Braves.
“Not a real good night,'' said manager Pete Mackanin, whose team made two errors and went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
Also coming off a disappointing outing is Adam Morgan (1-1, 6.41), who was tagged for seven runs and eight hits over 3 2/3 innings in a 9-4 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday. That followed an outstanding start five days earlier in a 3-2 victory over his hometown Braves.
Morgan, who grew up in Marietta, Georgia, went seven innings and surrendered one run and four hits.
The left-hander is 1-3 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts against the Braves.