Philadelphia Odalis Perez never considered tossing a no-hitter, even while retiring batters so easily it seemed like a real possibility. The only zero he wanted was in Philadelphia's run column.
Perez took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and Jeff Kent drove in the only run in the first, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Phillies, 1-0, Thursday.
"It's a great game for us to win," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.
Perez (5-5) completely stymied the Phillies, jamming left-handers all game with near-impeccable control. Making his fourth start since coming off the disabled list after missing 46 games because of soreness in his pitching shoulder, Perez was as sharp as he has been all year, getting his changeup consistently over for strikes as he matched his longest outing of the season.
"(He) resembled the pitcher I saw here in 2002," Tracy said. "That's the guy that we saw that was a big part of the rotation in 2002. By far and away it was the best game he's pitched all year."
Perez went 15-10 in 2002 and pitched the only two shutouts of his eight-year career. There was no shutout against the Phillies, but there were five no-hit innings, something the left-hander is familiar with.
Four times in four seasons with the Dodgers, Perez has taken a no-hitter into the seventh.
"I don't think too much about no-hitters. I've been through that," he said. "I've been through that five, six times already, and I didn't come out with no-hitters. One day I will get it. I've been getting close."
Perez tossed three-hit ball over seven innings, walked none and matched his season high with seven strikeouts while winning for the first time in nearly three months.
"We've had trouble with lefties all year," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "The whole secret is getting a good ball to hit. Perez pitched like (Tom) Glavine today."
The Phillies threatened in the eighth, getting two on with one out, but Jimmy Rollins grounded into a double play against Wilson Alvarez.
Yhency Brazoban pitched the ninth for his 17th save, successfully rebounding from allowing the winning homer to Ryan Howard in the 10th inning two nights earlier. Brazoban, pitching for injured closer Eric Gagne, tied the Dodgers rookie saves record set by Steve Howe in 1980.
"There is no closer in baseball that's perfect, though we lost one that is as close to being one as there is," Tracy said.
Perez had his no-hit bid spoiled when Endy Chavez hit a hard one-hopper that bounced over first baseman Olmedo Saenz's head leading off the sixth.
Pirates 8, Rockies 1
Pittsburgh - Rookie Zach Duke won his third consecutive start, and Jason Bay went 3-for-4 with a homer as Pittsburgh snapped a five-game losing streak. Duke (3-0) allowed eight hits, struck out five and walked four over seven innings.
Astros 3, Nationals 2
Washington - Roy Oswalt threw eight shutout innings and delivered his first RBI of the season, part of an 11-hit attack that helped Houston beat Washington for the Astros' season-high fifth straight road victory.
Washington has lost 11 of 15, and it dropped into a first-place tie in the NL East with the idle Atlanta Braves. The Nationals led by 51â2 games July 3.
Brewers 12, Cardinals 7
St. Louis - Geoff Jenkins had three hits and three RBIs to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 14 games, and Milwaukee defeated St. Louis to earn a four-game split. The Brewers' 14-hit attack that chased Jason Marquis in the fifth inning featured RBI singles from starter Chris Capuano and reliever Matt Wise, the latter coming on his first career hit. Milwaukee is 5-3 since the All-Star break and improved to 3-7 against the Cardinals.
Reds 9, Cubs 6
Cincinnati - Greg Maddux came up short of the 3,000-strikeout mark, and a bullpen meltdown denied him his elusive first win at Great American Ball Park.
Roberto Novoa (2-3) balked home the tying run in the eighth, and Austin Kearns followed with a two-run single, rallying Cincinnati past Chicago.
Mets 12, Padres 0
New York - David Wright singled and doubled during a seven-run sixth inning, and New York roughed up All-Star Jake Peavy in a victory that completed a three-game sweep of San Diego.