Perhaps a memorable debut from their highly touted catching prospect will provide the spark the Los Angeles Angels need to get rolling in a positive direction.
They also look to provide C.J. Wilson with some much-needed run support in Wednesday night's decisive finale against the visiting Seattle Mariners.
Carlos Perez capped his first game with a line-drive home run to lead off the ninth inning and help Los Angeles (12-15) snap a season-high four-game slide with Tuesday's 5-4 victory. The 24-year-old Perez, who hit .361 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 17 games for Triple-A Salt Lake, also singled in his first at-bat.
''I can't explain any of that,'' he said. ''It's my first game, and to finish like that, you'll never forget that moment.''
Acquired from Houston in a November trade that sent one-time prized catching prospect Hank Conger to the Astros, Perez is expected to share playing time with veteran Chris Iannetta.
''Anytime a guy performs, you're going to get more playing time,'' manager Mike Scioscia said.
Perez's stellar debut came at the right time for the Angels, who hit .189 and totaled eight runs while losing their first four games in May. Tuesday marked the second time in their 12 home games that they scored more than four runs.
No member of Los Angeles' rotation has been affected more by the team's overall offensive struggles than Wilson (1-2, 2.73 ERA), whose 1.36 run-support average is the lowest among qualifying AL starters. The Angels managed two of the five runs they've scored with the left-hander on the mound Friday when he allowed one earned run and four hits in seven innings while not factoring in the decision of a 3-2 loss at San Francisco.
Wilson, who has a 1.86 ERA while going 0-1 in his last three starts, didn't show any ill effects from having fluid drained from his elbow a few days prior to his most recent outing.
"Everything's going to be fine," he told MLB's official website. "It's manageable."
Wilson opened his season by yielding two singles over eight innings of a 2-0 victory over Seattle on April 7. He's allowed one run and seven hits over 21 innings to go 2-0 in his last three starts against the Mariners (11-16).
Robinson Cano is 0 for his last 11 against Wilson, but had three hits Tuesday as Seattle overcame a 2-0 deficit only to blow a 4-2 lead in the eighth.
The Mariners have dropped five of six after opening their 10-game trip by sweeping three from Texas. Four of those five defeats have come by one run.
''This is a tough loss," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Anytime you have a lead going to the eighth inning, particularly with our bullpen, we expect to win.''
Making his third straight start in place of the injured Hisashi Iwakuma, Roenis Elias (0-1, 3.86) allowed three runs on two homers but struck out eight during a 4-3 loss at Houston on Friday.
The left-hander went 0-2 with a 5.65 ERA in three starts against the Angels last season.
Albert Pujols, 3 for 8 with a home run versus Elias, homered Tuesday and is batting .367 in his last eight games.