PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Tommy Hanson took another step forward while Oliver Perez struggled with his command again.
Perez was pulled after walking consecutive batters in the fifth inning, part of a shaky outing in the New York Mets’ 7-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.
Perez’s control problems continued to hurt him. He issued a leadoff walk to Brian McCann before Yunel Escobar hit a two-run homer in the fourth.
The erratic left-hander allowed three runs and five hits in 4 1-3 innings. He walked four and struck out three.
“I think the key today was I was behind the count to the batter (McCann) in the (fourth) inning and I walked him, and after that Escobar hit me,” Perez said. “He had two balls, no strikes and he took advantage of the pitch count.”
New York is counting on Perez to bounce back this season after struggling last year.
Hanson pitched five innings for the Braves, yielding two runs and four hits.
The 23-year-old right-hander struck out five and walked three while throwing a spring-high 91 pitches in his fourth start.
“This is the farthest I’ve gone so far,” he said. “I didn’t even know I threw 91 pitches, but it’s good to get 91 out there, and my arm and everything feels good and I didn’t feel tired one bit. It’s good to throw that many pitches and still feel good.”
Former Braves star Jeff Francoeur hit a solo homer for New York, and Jason Bay also singled in a run.
Scott Proctor, who missed last season while recovering from right elbow surgery, allowed two runs and one hit in one inning in his second spring outing for Atlanta.
Proctor retired the first two batters he faced in the eighth but walked the next three. Mike Jacobs drove in two runs with a single to right field.
“I got two quick outs and just had a mental lapse,” Proctor said. “I made some good pitches, but I just didn’t execute well. You never want to have an outing like that, but you always try to take the positives out of a situation like that. My arm felt great, I made some great pitches, I kept the ball down, and I was throwing strikes for the most part until a couple hitters in there.”