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Perez triple ends no-hitter, Werth homer wins game

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Pedro Martinez was five outs from the first
no-hitter in New York Mets history. Four pitches later, he was
losing.

Martinez didn't allow a hit Sunday until Antonio Perez tripled
with one out in the eighth inning. Jayson Werth followed with a
two-run homer, and the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled out a 2-1
victory.

"It's always hard. I felt like I was in command of the game --
and all of a sudden, in two pitches, I lost it," Martinez said.
"It was a little bit frustrating. I did whatever possible to give
my team an opportunity to win, and I blew it at the end. No
excuses. They battled and never gave up."

Martinez (12-5) struck out five, walked one and retired 20
consecutive batters before Perez drove his 86th pitch off the
left-center fence on a 1-1 count.

It would have taken a spectacular play for 39-year-old Gerald
Williams to catch Perez's long drive. He ran full speed to the
warning track, then pulled back at the last moment as he crashed
shoulder-first into the wall and the ball bounced away.

"Perez hit that ball, but it wasn't like he actually knew what
was coming," Martinez said. "He just reacted to it, threw the
head of the bat on it and it hit the wall. I made the pitch I
wanted to, and he happened to hit it. He's a strong kid."

Williams was in center field for this series only because the
Mets' two best defensive outfielders -- Gold Glove winner Mike
Cameron and All-Star Carlos Beltran -- were injured in a
head-to-head collision Thursday at San Diego.

Werth sent the crowd of 48,055 into a frenzy with a drive into
the pavilion seats in left-center on a 1-1 pitch for his sixth home
run.

"It was a fastball up and in," Martinez said. "We were
playing the infield in, so I was trying to keep him in the infield.
But he cheated a little bit and got to it."

Brad Penny (6-7) hung on at the finish for his first win in
seven starts. The right-hander scattered 10 hits in his first
complete game with the Dodgers and third in 155 career starts. He
struck out nine and walked none while going the distance for the
first time since April 4, 2002, with Florida.

New York threatened in the ninth when Marlon Anderson doubled
with one out and stole third. He tried to score on Victor Diaz's
slow bouncer with the infield in, but was tagged out by Dioner
Navarro after a perfect throw from second baseman Perez. Penny
struck out pinch-hitter Kaz Matsui to end it.

Martinez merely sat on the bench by himself after the final out.
As the Dodgers celebrated on the field, he got pats of
encouragement from manager Willie Randolph and several teammates as
they cleared the dugout.

After a few minutes, Martinez got up and made his way to the
clubhouse. The complete game was the third this season for the
seven-time All-Star.

"He had some good stuff going, obviously, to take a no-hitter
that deep into the game," Werth said. "And with us getting to him
that late in the game, it's one of the better wins I've been a part
of."

A three-time Cy Young Award winner, Martinez helped Boston win
the World Series last season. That title left him with most
everything on his resume except a no-hitter -- though he did his
best to get one 10 years ago.

On June 3, 1995, Martinez pitched nine perfect innings for
Montreal at San Diego. But the teams were scoreless going into
extra innings, and Martinez gave up a leadoff double to Bip Roberts
in the 10th. In baseball's official records, Martinez did not get
credit for a perfect game or a no-hitter.

Now in his first season with the Mets, Martinez also took a
no-hit bid into the seventh inning against Houston on June 7 at
Shea Stadium before Chris Burke hit his first major league home
run.

The Mets' only run came on consecutive doubles by Diaz and
Williams in the fifth.

The 33-year-old Martinez has three one-hitters, the most recent
on Aug. 29, 2000, when he beat Tampa Bay 8-0 with Boston.

"If a no-hitter comes, I'll take it," said Martinez, whose
brother Ramon pitched one for the Dodgers against Florida in 1995.
"I don't go out there expecting no-hitters, but I was lucky enough
to be flirting with a no-hitter today. I'm just proud I was able to
come here and show the fans what I didn't have enough time to show
them before."

Martinez began his big league career with the Dodgers in 1992 as
a reliever before he was traded to Montreal in November '93 for
Delino DeShields. From there, the wispy right-hander with the
powerful fastball went on to win five ERA titles.

Dodgers executive Tommy Lasorda, who was managing the club when
Martinez broke in, didn't have any room in his rotation for the
right-hander. Lasorda watched Martinez flirt with history Sunday as
he sat in owner Frank McCourt's field-level seats during the game.

"I didn't want him to pitch a no-hitter and I didn't want him
to beat us," Lasorda said as he left the Dodgers' clubhouse. "And
I said, `This is the inning.' Not only was the no-hitter broken,
but the shutout was gone and it was a tremendous win."

Game notes
A ballboy on the right-field line tried to backhand Cliff
Floyd's fourth-inning double and missed it, forcing umpire Brian
Gorman to signal that the ball was still alive.