Oliver Perez notches win in Double-A debut for Nationals

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Signed to a minor-league contract by the Nationals after being released by the Mets during spring training, Oliver Perez made his Double-A debut yesterday and picked up a victory with five innings of one-run ball.

Perez, who’s being paid $12 million by the Mets this season, allowed just one run against the Twins’ affiliate and perhaps most importantly handed out just two walks.

Of course, he threw only 44 of 79 pitches for strikes, managed only three strikeouts versus a pretty weak lineup, and Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that his velocity was still in the mid-80s, so Perez was hardly dominant with pinpoint control.

Still, considering how awful he’s been for several years now it’s a big step in the right direction.

Watch: George Springer robs Todd Frazier with an incredible catch at the wall

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Perhaps there are a few who still miss the slope of Tal’s Hill rising from center field, but George Springer isn’t one of them. He lassoed a 403-foot fly ball from Todd Frazier in the seventh inning of Game 6, reaching nearly to the top of the wall to prevent the Yankees from gaining on the Astros’ 3-0 lead.

According to Statcast, a fly ball with an exit velocity of 103.6 MPH and a launch angle of 29 degrees lands for a home run 72% of the time. That wasn’t going to fly with the Astros, who were facing runners on first and second with one out and saw Justin Verlander‘s pitch count rapidly approaching 100.

It wasn’t long before the Yankees tried for another home run, however, and this one sailed far above the heads of all of the Astros’ outfielders. Aaron Judge lofted a 425-foot shot to left field in the eighth inning, destroying a first-pitch fastball from Brad Peacock and finally getting New York on the board.

The Yankees currently trail the Astros 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth.