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Perez impresses with strong first half

Perez impresses with strong first half

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Perez impresses with strong first half

SEATTLE -- One of the best success stories for the Mariners in the first half of the season has been left-handed reliever Oliver Perez, who hasn't allowed a run in his last 14 appearances and has a 0.94 ERA in 31 games.

Perez struck out the side in the ninth inning of Seattle's 5-4 victory over the Cubs in 10 innings Friday night, including a leadoff whiff of right-hander Alfonso Soriano, who had a .357 batting average against him (5-for-14) in prior meetings.

"Oliver has been dominant," manager Eric Wedge said. "I took a chance on him facing Soriano there, looking at his numbers and Soriano's numbers against left-handers. But he's not facing the same Oliver Perez. This is a different guy. And obviously he did a nice job."

After being released by the Mets with one year and $12 million still remaining on his contract in 2010, Perez has resurrected his career as a reliever with Seattle. He posted a 2.12 ERA in 33 games after a midseason callup last year and has performed even better this season.

"He's just completely different," Wedge said of the transition. "You look at the way he was in New York, especially at the end there, his stuff, his pitchability and presence is just completely different. He's reinvented himself. I told him that last spring when we first got him, this should be the beginning of your second career. You're a reliever, that's what you are, that's what you do. And he's just taken it and run with it. And good for him."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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