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Shift on pitching rubber paying off for Perez

LOS ANGELES -- Chris Perez's season is moving in the right direction -- to be exact, a couple of steps to the right side of the pitching rubber.

The Dodgers right-hander shifted from the first-base side to the third-base side three outings ago at the suggestion of his coaching staff. After allowing two earned runs in 1 1/3 innings May 22 against the Mets, Perez has thrown perfect innings in his last two appearances, including a scoreless seventh in the Dodgers' 2-1 loss to the Pirates on Friday.

While he's still tinkering with it, Perez said the shift on the mound has helped.

"It changes the angles and looks the hitters get, especially the righties," Perez said. "I'm kind of throwing behind them now instead of coming into them. It just makes my pitches play different."

Perez, who has a 5.14 ERA in 21 innings this season, joined fellow relievers Paul Maholm, Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell for four innings of scoreless relief Friday night, holding the Pirates to one hit.

Perez said he expects more of the same going forward.

"Early on, we were used a lot, and guys were trying to figure out their roles," he said. "But now, we're starting to get into a little groove. Starting pitching is helping by going deep into games, which helps a lot. We're starting to throw like we're supposed to."

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for
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