Major Leagues: Grapefruit League
The Grapefuit League …KISSIMMEE, Fla. ó The last thing Willie Randolph wanted to see four days before the Mets’ season opener was Oliver Perez sprawled face down on the first-base line ó and not moving.
No wonder Randolph ran from the third-base dugout on a straight line for Perez, who fell in a heap after throwing a runner out in New York’s 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
Finally, Perez pushed himself off the ground and left the field with Randolph following the play that ended the sixth inning. Obviously relieved and managing a smile, Randolph playfully slapped Perez on the back of the head as they neared the dugout as if to say “Don’t scare me like that!”
Perez fielded a grounder between the mound and first base and threw out Josh Anderson before falling on the base line, his face on the chalk and dirt.
“It was kind of funny when he got up and turf was all over his face and all in his bubble gum and everything,” Randolph said.
“I just tripped,” the left-hander said. “I threw it and fell.”
Perez, who remained in the game, said he was not hurt. “No, not any problem,” he said.
Perez gave up seven hits and three runs in 61/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one as the Mets and Braves each relied heavily on backups.
The Mets won each of three spring games between the NL East rivals.
The Braves, playing their last spring game in Florida, opened the game with three relievers from their major league roster. They then turned the game over to minor league right-hander Charlie Morton, who gave up three runs and three hits in three innings, and three minor league relievers.
“Morton was just way off,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said of the right-hander who spent the 2007 season at Double-A Mississippi. “It was a good day except Morton had a rough outing. He’s got a chance to be really good.”Brewers 10, Cubs 10
At Mesa, Ariz., Alfonso Soriano hit a three-run homer for Chicago and Mike Cameron homered for Milwaukee.
Mariners 10 (ss), Padres 10
At Peoria, Ariz., Seattle’s Felix Hernandez gave up three runs and nine hits in five innings, including home runs by Scott Hairston and Khalil Greene.
D’backs 8, White Sox 4
At Tucson, Ariz., Arizona’s Dan Haren allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings. Chicago third baseman Joe Crede left the game after fouling a ball off his left foot.
Blue Jays 8, Astros 3
At Dunedin, Fla., Toronto third baseman Scott Rolen said his broken right middle finger could sideline him six weeks. Blue Jays starter Dustin McGowan allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings.
Rangers 8, Royals 5
At Surprise, Ariz., Hank Blalock and Milton Bradley hit back-to-back homers for Texas and Rangers starter Jason Jennings gave up two runs and six hits in 51/3 innings.
Tigers 14, Phillies 5
At Lakeland, Fla., Detroit’s Brandon Inge went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and Placido Polanco and Clete Thomas homered for the Tigers.
Rockies 6, Angels (ss) 2
At Tempe, Ariz., Troy Tulowitzki, Garrett Atkins and Chris Iannetta hit home runs for Colorado and Los Angeles catcher Jeff Mathis upped his spring average to .343 with two of the Angels’ six hits.
Reds 5, Twins 1
At Sarasota, Fla., Bronson Arroyo pitched seven shutout innings for Cincinnati, throwing 65 strikes out of 89 pitches.
Nationals 2, Orioles 1
At Viera, Fla., Dmitri Young went 1-for-2 for Washington in his quest to win the starting first base job over Nick Johnson. Manager Manny Acta said he’s made a decision, but won’t announce it yet.
Cardinals 2, Marlins 0
At Jupiter, Fla., Rick VandenHurk walked five and needed 100 pitches to get through 42/3 innings in his first outing after Florida made him its No. 2 starter.