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Lefty Oliver Perez Flirts With No-Hitter

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Oliver Perez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Saturday night as the Norfolk Tides blanked the Charlotte Knights, 1-0, at Harbor Park.

Making his fourth start for the Tides since the New York Mets acquired him from the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 31, Perez (2-5) yielded a single and two walks while striking out 11 over seven frames.


The Mets reportedly were close to promoting Perez to pitch on Saturday against the Colorado Rockies before opting for fellow left-hander Dave Williams.


"When they call me, I have to be ready for it," Perez said. "Everyone gets excited when you get talked about going to the Major Leagues. Everyone is working hard to get to that point."


Former Tides infielder Jorge Velandia broke up the no-hit bid by leading off the seventh with a single to left field. Perez, who turned 25 on Tuesday, issued a two-out walk but got Bobby Smith to ground out to end the threat. He left after tossing 94 pitches, 59 for strikes.


"Everything was working really good today." Perez said. "I was pitching to both sides of the plates. You always know when you are throwing good and have a no-hitter. I was just trying to make pitches and throw strikes."


The 6-foot-3, 210-pound southpaw struggled last year after after going 12-10 with a 2.99 ERA for the Pirates in 2004. He was 2-10 with a 6.63 ERA this season before getting shipped to the Mets.


The Culiacan, Mexico, native labored in his first two starts with Norfolk, giving up 12 runs over seven frames. He has allowed just one run on six hits over 13 innings in his last two outings. Working on his mechanics and improving his mind-set has helped Perez get back on track.


"I'm trying not to think too much," he explained. "This game was very important to me. I was having lot of problems. This game helped me get a little more comfortable. I'm feeling better now. I just have keep working."


Tim LaVigne pitched a perfect eighth and Heath Bell did the same in the ninth to record his 12th save and complete the one-hitter.


Norfolk (48-79) scored the game's only run in the third when Anderson Hernandez singled with one out, stole second and came home on Jacob Cruz's two-out base hit.


Knights starter Tim Redding (10-10) allowed one run on five hits with one strikeout and one walk in seven innings.


Charlotte (74-53) went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.




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