LOS ANGELES -- To gain perspective on how much the season has been such a struggle for left-hander Oliver Perez, consider this: Saturday's relief appearance, in which he surrendered a walk-off home run to Dodgers first baseman James Loney, could somewhat be described as a step in the right direction.

Perez came out of the bullpen in the 12th inning with runners on second and third and one out, and the reliever so often vilified by Mets fans proceeded to get Andre Ethier to foul out and Jamey Carroll to weakly ground out to second with the bases loaded.

Though Perez lost the game in the 13th, manager Jerry Manuel thought he showed improvement.

"I thought he threw the ball pretty good yesterday, compared to Arizona," Manuel said. "The ball coming out of his hand was a little better yesterday. Hopefully, that becomes serviceable for us."

In 2 1/3 innings this month, Perez has allowed two hits and three walks, and has hit one batter.

Barajas sits Sunday, to be evaluated Monday

LOS ANGELES -- One day after leaving the game in the sixth inning because of a strained right oblique, Rod Barajas said on Sunday that his condition has neither improved nor worsened.

Barajas, who was pulled one batter after hitting an RBI single in the Mets' 3-2 extra-inning loss on Saturday, said that he can move, but he didn't expect to try swinging a bat on Sunday.

Manager Jerry Manuel said that Barajas will be evaluated during Monday's off-day.

"He'll see someone tomorrow," Manuel said, "and we'll make a decision one way or the other how long he'll be [out]."

Barajas is the third Met to deal with oblique issues this season. Jose Reyes battled through a right oblique injury earlier this month, an injury that caused him to miss the All-Star Game, and Angel Pagan also recently dealt with a troublesome oblique.

Though it's impossible for such an injury to travel from one player to the next, Manuel said that the Mets' training staff would investigate to see if there is a root to the problem.

"I know our trainers. Any time we have one or two guys with the same thing, they seem to try to go back and see if there's anything that we're doing that's causing it," Manuel said.

Josh Thole started Sunday's game in place of Barajas, and Manuel said that a roster replacement would likely be an infielder if Barajas ends up on the disabled list.

Manuel keeps struggling Wright in lineup

LOS ANGELES -- David Wright was not given Sunday off, and manager Jerry Manuel said it is unlikely that the slumping third baseman will sit out Tuesday's game against St. Louis.

"I think the day off [on Monday] will probably be enough for him, to be honest with you," Manuel said.

Wright has two hits in his last 22 at-bats, with 11 strikeouts, and is batting .189 (10-for-47) over his last 14 games.

Worth noting

The Mets took their Major League-leading 12th walk-off loss on Saturday. That's two off the club's single-season record. ... Sunday marks a welcome end to the Mets' West Coast swing. New York went 2-8 in the first 10 games of a road trip that featured a four-game series in San Francisco and three-game stints in Arizona and Los Angeles.