2004 NEWS

2004 News > 5/24/04

GLAVINE NEAR PERFECT IN MET'S WIN

By Kevin T. Czerwinski, MLB.com
Original Article HERE

NEW YORK -- The chants of "Tommy, Tommy" rolled down from the upper deck at Shea Stadium as Tom Glavine kicked at the dirt on the mound.

The veteran southpaw had just surrendered a hit, his only of the game, a Kit Pellow double off the wall in right field with two outs in the eighth inning. Glavine had lost his bid to become the first pitcher in Mets franchise history to toss a no-hitter but the crowd was effusive in its praise for the New York ace.

Glavine allowed only the one hit, retiring the final four batters he faced as New York blanked the Rockies, 4-0, to complete the series sweep before 37,486 fans. It was the 27th one-hitter in club history and the first of Glavine's career, allowing him to join a pantheon of other great hurlers, including Tom Seaver (five), Jon Matlack (two), David Cone (two), Steve Trachsel (two) and Nolan Ryan, who came close but fell one hit shy of immortality as a Met.

Still, Glavine was beaming afterwards, content with the victory even if it wasn't of the history-making variety. As for the crowd, Glavine (6-2) heard every last chant, knowing the cheers were genuine.

"That's what I came to play in New York for, right there," Glavine said. "It doesn't get any better than that. I didn't have too many opportunities last year for them to cheer like that so I'm trying to make up for it this year. Today was probably my best day as a Met. Hopefully I'll have many more of these moments before all is said and done."

The victory, Glavine's first at Shea Stadium this season, also evened New York's record (22-22) at .500 for the first time since April 16. It marked the deepest a Met pitcher had taken a no-hitter into a game since April 28, 1992, when David Cone allowed a one-out, eighth-inning single to Houston's Benny DiStefano. Glavine's previous long on a no-hit bid was 6 1/3 innings on Aug. 12, 1989.

"I'm not going to go out there and throw a no-hitter with 15 punch outs," said Glavine, who struck out a season-high eight. "I just don't have that kind of stuff. My game is to make them put the ball in play. But I knew I had good stuff today and that's half the battle. "

Glavine, 38, had glided through the first 7 2/3 innings, issuing only a leadoff walk to Denny Hocking in the seventh. He went to a three-ball count on only five batters and 19 of his 29 first-pitches were strikes against a lineup void of Todd Helton, Preston Wilson and Larry Walker.

Yet it was Pellow, the light-hitting backup first baseman, who stepped between Glavine and the history books. Pellow took a ball before ringing Glavine's 96th pitch, a change, over Shane Spencer's head and off the wall in right field.

"You hate to lose it on a broken bat blooper but you don't feel so bad when it's on a real hit," said Glavine, who pitched his first complete game since May 27, 2002. "I bounced the first pitch to him and that was the one pitch all day that I was trying to avoid contact because of the no-hitter. But after that pitch I told myself that it was being stupid, that there was no point in changing what I was doing.

"I know he's a good low-ball hitter and I was just trying to go lower than low. It was a quality pitch and he beat me on it. After the middle of their lineup, he was the guy I was most concerned about. I just tried to out-execute him there. A lot of times when you let the ball go, you're gut reaction is , 'Oh, no,' but this was not one of those times."

Spencer said he didn't know for sure that the ball was over his head but after taking two or three steps, he knew he was in trouble.

"You're hoping at that point maybe the wind kicks up and knocks it down," Spencer said. "You want it to stay in the park at least."

Catcher Jason Phillips said there were no regrets about the pitch to Pellow, either, especially since it came on Glavine's meal ticket, a changeup, low and away.

"He just hit a good pitch," Phillips said. "I'll second guess it if no one else will. Maybe I should have told him [Pellow] what was coming."

New York gave Glavine all the support he would need in the first inning. Kazuo Matsui golfed a Shawn Estes (6-3) offering out of the park for his second leadoff homer in as many days. The shot, his fifth leadoff homer of the year, tied the National League rookie record for homers set in 1982 by San Francisco's Chili Davis.

The homer also gave Matsui the franchise record for leadoff homers in a season, snapping the tie he entered into with Tommie Agee (1969) the night before. He also became the first player to hit leadoff homers in consecutive games since Aug. 19-20, when Minnesota's Jacque Jones turned the trick against the White Sox.

Cliff Floyd added to the lead two batters later, rocketing a 1-1 offering over the wall in right center to give the Mets a two-run advantage. Floyd's RBI grounder in the third increased that cushion before Glavine got into the act in the sixth, singling home Spencer with New York's fourth run.

"Today is one of those special days," Glavine said. "I'll always remember it."