PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) -Oliver Perez isn't concerned about a rough outing in his last spring training game.
The New York Mets, however, will be keeping a close eye on him as the season starts next week.
The St. Louis Cardinals ripped three home runs off Perez in Tuesday's 9-4 win over the Mets, and the left-hander lasted 2 1-3 innings.
Perez, who is coming back from Sept. 1 knee surgery, surrendered seven runs, six hits and two walks, while fanning three.
``The goal in spring training is getting ready for the season,' Perez said. ``My point was not to feel anything in my knee and get stronger every time and be able to use all my pitches. I feel good with that. The results today weren't not the way a lot of people want, but those things can happen. I am ready to go.'
Perez's struggles began early.
Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and Matt Holliday immediately followed with the first of two homers on the day.
Brendan Ryan added a two-run shot over the left-field wall in the second inning, and Perez walked two straight batters in the third before getting pulled with one out.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel said Perez, who is 0-1 with an 8.66 ERA this spring, might be going through a dead-arm period, and it wouldn't be fair to say he is on a short leash based on results that don't count.
``Obviously you would like to see better going into the season, so he's just a guy we have to watch carefully,' Manuel said. ``I sense that he is healthy. I don't think there are any issues there, so hopefully when the lights come on, he shows us a little better stuff.'
Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter struggled with his command, walking six batters in his final tune-up before opening day, but he gave up just two runs one earned and four hits in five innings, while striking out two.
The Cardinals backed him up on offense, holding a 7-2 lead when he left. Holliday took advantage of a change-up Perez left over the middle of the plate to hit his first home run of the spring. The slugging outfielder added his second in the seventh inning off Kiko Calero.
``It's nice, especially heading into the season, feeling like you're swinging well,' Holliday said. ``Hitting a couple balls hard, you feel like you've got some results.'
Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue jammed his hand while trying to stop Jason Bay from scoring after third baseman David Freese's fielding error in the fifth inning and had to be replaced. He was sent in for X-rays but results are pending.
Mets first baseman Daniel Murphy twisted his right knee in a run-down while trying to score on Gary Matthews Jr.'s ground-out to first. He left the game but said he was fine.
Murphy went 2 for 2 with an RBI. Bay homered in the seventh inning off Mitchell Boggs.
NOTES: Mets shortstop Jose Reyes went 1 for 5 in five at_bats in a minor league game Tuesday and recorded a fielding error on a grounder he bobbled. He played three innings in the field but was restricted on the bases. He was not supposed to run past first base but jogged into second on a hit he claimed would have been a triple. ... Ace Johan Santana also played in the minor league game, but struggled. He gave up seven runs and 10 hits in five innings and struck out two batters. ... The Mets told pitcher Pat Misch he would not make the team. He is out of options and will need to clear waivers before being sent to the minors. ... Mets shortstop Alex Cora has a sore right hip after getting hit by a pitch Tuesday and is considered day-to-day.
The Associated Press News Service
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