The 29-year-old left-hander walked six and yielded two runs on three hits while striking out five over six innings, as the Tomateros defeated the Naranjeros de Hermosillo, 13-2.
While he still wasn’t particularly sharp, the one big improvement to note was that almost two-thirds of his outs were recorded on ground balls. Perez isn’t really known as a guy who gets batters to swing over a lot of pitches, so I can only assume that he did a better job at keeping the ball low in the zone against a good hitting team that is at the top of the Mexican League.
Perez walked former ninth-rounder Chris Roberson, the first batter he faced, but erased the baserunner on a ground ball double play. He then worked around a two-out single in the bottom of the second, but gave up the lead in the third frame.
After a pair of groundouts, Perez gave up a double to Roberson before issuing back to back walks to Carlos Gastelum and Erubiel Durazo to load the bases. As he did in his previous start against Guasave, Perez was unable to get out of the jam with men in scoring position, surrendering a two-RBI line drive to center off the bat of Luis Garcia.
The southpaw walked Humberto Cota in the fourth before starting a 1-6-3 double play and he found himself in trouble again in the fifth.
Perez walked Roberson with one down before making a throwing error on a force play at second base. Roberson took third as the ball sailed into center field and Carlos Gastelum advanced to second. Perez issued his sixth walk of the evening to Durazo to load the bases, but he got the following Luis Garcia and former Met and Yankee Karim Garcia out to keep the 5-2 lead intact.
The sixth inning was better, and he completed his outing retiring the Nos. 6, 7 and 8 batters in order on a strikeout and a pair of fly balls to center.
The pitcher, who has allowed 24 baserunners and 11 runs over 13 innings in his last three outings, has a 5.14 ERA for the winter over 10 total appearances.
Perez went 1-1 with a 3.47 ERA in four starts between St. Lucie and Buffalo in 2010, and 0-5 with a 6.80 ERA in 17 Major League appearances, including seven starts.
He is expected to fight for a bullpen job in spring training in March. GM Sandy Alderson reportedly said Perez will not make the 25-man roster unless he thoroughly earns his spot.