2007 NEWS

2007 News > 6/23/07


By Steve Popper, The Record

NEW YORK -- Tom Glavine didn't want to talk about the numbers anymore, the chase for 300 wins or the 295 he was stuck on. But after he'd finished answering questions -- all about this night and the Mets' 9-1 win over the Oakland A's, not his place in history -- Friday night, he fielded one more question happily.

His 6-year-old son, Mason, plopped into his chair and asked, "How many wins do you have now?" Glavine told him that the number was 296 now, explaining his willingness to answer this question by commenting, "He has no idea."

The child was one of the few who didn't know about the 295 wins already on the ledger and about how long Glavine had been waiting for 296.

And he didn't seem very impressed with the answer, hopping up and asking his next question, "Dad, can I have a pillow fight with [his brother] Peyton? Thanks."

The elder Glavine could answer all questions with much more ease Friday, relieved of the pressures that had been mounting on him.

But like releasing steam, an ovation began when Glavine walked off the mound at the end of the eighth inning and it picked up again, louder, as he walked to the mound to start the ninth.

Shea Stadium, where the loudest sound for the last month had been the boos raining down on the home team, resonated with a chant of "Tom-my Gla-vine," as he warmed up, and got louder with boos when Willie Randolph popped out of the dugout after a first-pitch single, ending the night for Glavine.

Randolph was saved further taunts though as the crowd of 43,029 stood and gave Glavine a well-deserved standing ovation.

"It was nice," Glavine said. "It was unusual. Look, I know these people are paying attention [to] this rut I'm in. And I know they also want to see me win 300 games. I know they appreciate all that. They appreciate a good effort on a given night. It was a very nice feeling."

For more than a month Glavine had struggled to find the right combination of run support or performance from his own left arm.

To finally break a five-start winless streak, Glavine certainly regained his form on the mound. But it might have been his bat that made just as big of a difference.

Glavine doubled in the third inning, scored the run that gave the Mets the lead for good and then capped a five-run, sixth inning with a two-run single.

The win was his first since May 19. More importantly -- well, maybe -- was that Glavine was back to his normal precise form, a turnaround from his past two outings in which he had surrendered a combined 16 earned runs in 81/3 innings, admittedly losing his way.

"I'm not going to lie to you about that," Glavine said when asked if it was a relief to finally win again.

"It starts to wear on you after a while. You get paid to win games. When you're not winning, you don't feel like you're doing your job.

"I'm not going to sit here and say that tonight was all me by any stretch of the imagination. I was better, much more consistent than I've been my last two games, but not totally where I want to be.

"It's certainly one to build on. More importantly for our team, it was nice to have a game like that, hopefully to jump-start us to some good things."

He was sharp on this night, pitching eight innings and allowing just six hits and one run, walking two and striking out five while throwing 110 pitches. The lone blemish was a second-inning solo home run to Shannon Stewart.

"When [Glavine] throws strikes at the bottom of the strike zone, he does well," pitching coach Rick Peterson said. "You'd like to say something magical, but it's really that simple. It's a matter of execution."

The A's managed just five singles against him the rest of the way and that wasn't going to be nearly enough with the Mets' bats -- including Glavine's -- coming to life.

The Mets got home runs from Shawn Green and Beltran and every player in the lineup got on base. The easy win was just what the Mets needed, not just for Glavine's numbers, but for their own sake.