NEW YORK (AP) – Oliver Perez hit Adam Kennedy with a pitch before walking three batters in a row in the 14th inning, and the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 2-1 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
It was a fitting ending to a miserable season for Perez. Making just his fourth appearance since Aug. 1, the left-hander entered to loud boos in the 14th. With one out, he plunked Kennedy in the shoulder. Kennedy stole second before Roger Bernadina and pinch-hitter Wil Nieves walked to load the bases. Justin Maxwell walked to force in the go-ahead run.
Perez (0-5) walked 42 in 46 1-3 innings this year. In the second season of a $36 million, three-year contract, he was banished to the bullpen in May.
Joel Peralta (1-0) pitched two innings for the win and Miguel Batista got three outs for his second save, helping the Nationals end a string of 18 straight one-run losses on the road.
With it almost certain that the Mets will not ask him back, manager Jerry Manuel said he would not speak with his players as a group because “to address them to prepare for spring training is probably not mine to do at this point.” Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, the owner’s son, has told Manuel they would speak about his status after the season ends.
Players packed boxes and made travel plans as they prepared for their final game of the team’s fourth straight year without making the playoffs – and second consecutive losing season (79-83).
After moving a season-high 11 games over .500 on June 27, it was all downhill for New York. A 2-9 road trip following the All-Star break was too much to overcome and attendance dropped sharply. This season’s home attendance was 2,559,738, including 30,849 on Sunday. The team drew 3,154,262 in 2009, its first at Citi Field.
After going 81-81 in 2005, the Nationals’ first season in Washington, the former Montreal Expos completed their fifth straight losing season at 69 -93 – after two 100-plus loss years – and lost rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg to major elbow surgery.
Adam Dunn went 1 for 4 in what could be his last game with the Nationals. He can become a free agent after the season.
Mike Pelfrey was sharp for seven innings, then was pulled for a pinch hitter. Manuel gave him a hug before nudging the Mets right-hander back out of the dugout for an ovation.
One of the few bright spots this season, Pelfrey finished 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA. He gave up just one hit through four innings, but walked Bernadina to open the fifth.
Bernadina scored on Alberto Gonzalez’s single to center field.
New York, which got its first hit in the fourth, tied it in the bottom half on Josh Thole’s double-play ball.
Washington starter Livan Hernandez pitched 6 2-3 innings, giving up a run and six hits.