Ollie throws four hitless frames in spring victory

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perez headshot.JPGMets left-hander Oliver Perez heaved four innings of hitless baseball during Sunday’s 9-1 Grapefruit League victory over the Tigers.  He desperately needed a strong outing after allowing seven hits and five runs in his spring debut, and manager Jerry Manuel acknowledged to the New York Post afterward that Perez is beginning to look a bit more locked-in.

“I see a better focus with Ollie,” Manuel said. “I see between starts
there is an effort, a conscious effort, what we’re seeing now with Ollie
is that Ollie has had some revelations of his own mechanics, and that’s
very important.”

Perez, 28, posted an ugly 6.82 ERA and 1.92 WHIP in 14 starts last season for the Mets while battling a knee injury.  He’s been clocked in the 90-91 MPH range this spring.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.