Perez, in desperate need of some run support, looks to end a personal three-game losing streak as the Mets play the decisive game of their series with the Reds at Shea Stadium.
New York (18-16) entered this series following a 12-run outburst in a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. The Mets followed that up with a 12-6 victory over the Reds (15-22) in the opener of a day-night doubleheader Saturday, but were held to four hits en route to losing the nightcap 7-1.
Beltran, hitting .218, drove in five of those runs. Delgado began the day with a .216 average, but missed the cycle by a triple, and Wright broke out of a 1-for-13 slump with two hits and three runs.
That trio combined for three of the Mets’ four hits in the second game.
“We’re a much better club than we’ve shown and played,” New York manager Willie Randolph said.
Consistent pitching from Perez (2-3, 4.63 ERA) would help the Mets’ cause. Perez, who went 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA in 2007, was outstanding in three of his first four starts this season.
But the left-hander has lost his last three outings, allowing 17 runs - 12 earned - in 13 1-3 innings. He has walked 11 while allowing 14 hits in that span. New York’s lineup hasn’t been much help during that span, though, giving the left-hander four runs to work with.
In his last start, Perez gave up five runs and six hits in six innings as New York lost 5-1 to the Dodgers on Monday night.
Perez went 2-0 with a 4.09 ERA in two starts versus the Reds last season, and is 8-3 with a 4.06 ERA in 16 career starts against them.
Cincinnati will counter with rookie Johnny Cueto (2-3, 5.27). He earned a win in his last start, allowing three runs and six hits while striking out eight in six innings as the Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 on Monday night.
The 22-year-old right-hander lost his previous two starts, posting an 11.42 ERA. This will be his first appearance against the Mets.
Ken Griffey Jr. is batting just .100 (2-for-20) in the last five games Cueto has started. He remains stalled in his bid to become the sixth player with 600 home runs, going without a homer in 59 at-bats. Griffey has only four homers in 95 career at-bats at Shea Stadium.
“I don’t know, I don’t really pay that much attention to it,” Griffey said of his home run total at Shea Stadium. “I really don’t know.”
But Griffey had two hits and an RBI in Saturday’s nightcap, a makeup of Friday night’s rainout, and is hitting .444 (8-for-18) in his last four games. He went 2-for-5 with two RBIs in the first game as Cincinnati lost despite collecting 15 hits.