Mets beat Padres for first win at Citi Field

BY foxsports • April 16, 2009

One pitch at a time, Oliver Perez and the New York Mets started settling into their new home Wednesday night.

Perez rebounded from a rough season debut and the Mets earned their first victory at Citi Field, beating the bumbling San Diego Padres 7-2 before a crowd of 35,581 that was about 6,200 short of capacity.

Carlos Delgado homered and Perez pitched six smooth innings to help New York end San Diego's five-game winning streak. The Padres spoiled Monday night's opener at the charming ballpark with a 6-5 victory over the mistake-prone Mets.

"We're starting to learn kind of the ins and outs, defensive positioning, some of the bounces off the walls," third baseman David Wright said. "We're starting to feel like this is a pretty good home-field advantage for us, and slowly but surely learn the playing surface."

After giving up eight runs and five walks in 4 1-3 innings against Cincinnati last week, Perez (1-1) held the Padres to one run and three hits. The often-erratic lefty walked two and struck out four.

"Like I've always said, Oliver seems to throw some of his best games after some of his worst," Wright said.

Bobby Parnell, J.J. Putz and Sean Green finished up as New York celebrated Jackie Robinson Day with a comfortable win.

One home run shy of 500, Gary Sheffield got his first start for the Mets, in right field. He went 0-for-2 with a walk and scored a run.

Making his first start in the outfield since May 16 last year with Detroit, Sheffield handled two fly balls without a problem. The 40-year-old slugger signed with the Mets on April 4, four days after he was released by the Tigers in a surprise move.

"It felt good," Sheffield said. "I'm not familiar with the National League anymore. It's been awhile."

It wasn't all good news on Wednesday for the Mets, however. No. 2 starter Mike Pelfrey has tendinitis in his pitching forearm and could miss his next scheduled start Sunday against Milwaukee.

Perez, able to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes, gave his teammates a lift.

"Tonight really wasn't maybe his best stuff, so not to have your best stuff and then to have the ability to pitch and have success, that's a good sign," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.

San Diego threw the ball all over the place in the seventh inning - except over the plate. Three walks, a wild pitch, a passed ball and an ugly error helped New York score four runs on one hit, a bunt single by Luis Castillo.

Luke Gregerson opened the inning by throwing 10 straight balls before he was lifted for Edward Mujica. On the next pitch, Castillo dropped a nice bunt toward third that loaded the bases.

"Since I throw a lot of sinkers, once it gets out there, it starts running away from me. I lost my release point," Gregerson said.

With pinch-hitter Ryan Church facing an 0-2 count, Sheffield scored when Mujica uncorked a high wild pitch. After Church struck out and Jose Reyes was intentionally walked, Daniel Murphy's sacrifice fly made it 4-1 Mets.

Castillo scored from third on a passed ball. Reyes stole second on the same delivery and raced all the way around the bases when catcher Nick Hundley threw wildly toward the plate for an error in an attempt to get Castillo.

"It was a bad inning," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Walks are part of it, there's no question. You can't walk guys and have wild pitches, especially in the late innings."

In the eighth, Delgado hit a leadoff homer against Luis Perdomo into the second deck in right field. It was a harsh hello for Perdomo, who was facing his first batter in the majors.

"That ball's down and in. That's his happy zone. You throw pitches like that all night, he'll hit home runs every time up," Black said.

Adrian Gonzalez homered in the ninth for the Padres, his second of the series.

New York loaded the bases with nobody out in the fourth on singles by Murphy and Wright, plus a walk to Delgado. Carlos Beltran hit an RBI single off starter Kevin Correia (0-1), and another run scored when Sheffield grounded into a double play.

San Diego cut it to 2-1 in the fifth on Scott Hairston's two-out RBI single, but Perez limited the damage.

"We just have to forget what happened yesterday and the last game," Perez said. "I had a really good changeup today, my slider was good and everything was working."


Mets owner Fred Wilpon said the team plans to put a Mets Hall of Fame somewhere in Citi Field. ... Sheffield made six starts in left field last season. He hadn't started in right since July 21, 2007. ... It was Gonzalez's 100th career home run. ... RHP Jake Peavy goes for the Padres on Thursday night against John Maine. ... New York released INF-OF Marlon Anderson.

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