CLEVELAND -- Chris Perez turned in one of the most dominant performances of his young career as the Indians closer to seal Saturday's 2-0 victory over the Marlins. Then, as Perez headed off the mound, he noticed something different.
The fans at Progressive Field were cheering for him.
"I'm tired of getting booed at home," Perez said. "So I figured I'd throw some strikes today. You can quote that."
Following an overpowering 10-pitch performance against Miami, Perez had something to get off his chest: He complained of being booed and mocked in recent appearances at Progressive Field.
But that doesn't mean Perez does not give his all while pitching for the Tribe.
"I'm here -- I'm here to win," Perez said. "I'm here for my teammates, and I want to bring a championship to Cleveland, to do my job and help the team win. I think I do a pretty good job of showing that on the field. I don't think I bring any undue attention to myself. I'm out there for the team. In big wins, I get excited and I'm like a kid again, because it's fun."
Perez certainly had a good time on Saturday afternoon, when he sent Omar Infante, Hanley Ramirez and Greg Dobbs back to the bench with three consecutive called strikeouts. The closer let out a shout in celebration in front of one of the larger crowds of the season. The announced attendance of 29,799 was the largest since Opening Day.
It was on Opening Day, April 5, when Perez's latest battle with the local fans began. In that game, against the Blue Jays, the 26-year-old right-hander gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning to blow his first save chance of the season. The boo birds came out during that performance, and Perez had no issue with that, given the circumstances.
"They had a right," Perez said. "They could've booed me Opening Day, and they did, and I totally deserved it. That's a different thing."
Different than what happened on Thursday night.
Perez, who has gone 13-for-13 in save chances with a 1.72 ERA since that Opening Day setback, entered Thursday's 6-5 win over Seattle with the game caught in a 4-4 tie in the 10th inning. With one out, Perez allowed a single to Justin Smoak and then issued a walk to Casper Wells.
That is when fans sent a chorus of cat calls in Perez's direction.
"They booed me against the Mariners when I had two guys on," Perez said. "It feels like I can't even give up a baserunner without people booing me. It's even worse when there's only 5,000 in the stands, because then you can hear it. It [ticks] me off.
"I got two guys on," he added later. "Yeah, my release point was all over the place, but really? I've got two guys on. They haven't even scored yet and you're booing me? You're saying, 'Get this bum off the mound.' Come on."
In that outing, Perez retired the next two hitters he faced to escape unscathed. After he struck out Seattle's Jesus Montero to end the inning, Perez did not enjoy the crowd's reaction.
"The mock standing applause just adds to it," Perez said. "You see their true colors."
Perez said it has been hard not to be angered by the boos at home.
"It doesn't bother me; it [ticks] me off," Perez said. "I don't think they have a reason to boo me."
The All-Star, who is under contract for $4.5 million and under club control through 2014, added that he wishes the Indians had a higher level of attendance.
"It doesn't go unnoticed -- trust us," Perez said. "I'm not calling out the fans. It's just how it is. ... Nobody wants to play in front of 5,000 fans."