The Pittsburgh Pirates traded away one of the most promising young starters in baseball last month. But they had another one waiting in the wings.
Oliver Perez looks to turn in another strong outing as the Pirates continue a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondback at PNC Park.
The 23-year-old left-hander has allowed just four runs in his last four starts, going 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA over that span.
He gave up just one unearned run and four hits in seven innings of the Pirates’ 3-2, 10-inning win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. Perez, who struck out 10 batters, was denied the win when closer Jose Mesa allowed a game-tying homer with two outs in the ninth.
“That’s not even his best showing this year. He’s arrived now,” manager Lloyd McClendon said of Perez.
Perez, who has recorded at least 10 strikeouts eight times this season and 13 times in his three-season career, has helped hold together the Pirates’ rotation since the departure of Kris Benson.
Benson, 29, was traded to the New York Mets on July 30 for infielder Ty Wigginton, minor league pitching prospect Matt Peterson and infielder Jose Bautista. Benson becomes a free agent after this season, and the Pirates knew that they would be unable to re-sign him.
The Diamondbacks beat the Pirates 5-4 on Monday for their third win in five games. Chris Snyder homered and Alex Cintron, who entered the game in a 2-for-20 slump, went 2-for-5 and singled home the winning run in the ninth inning.
“It’s a great feeling for me because I’ve been struggling all year,” Cintron said.
The Pirates have lost five straight.
“It was an all-around bad game for us,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said.