2008 NEWS

2008 News > 5/20/08


By Mark Bowman, MLB.com

ATLANTA -- As the Mets were bidding to win a second consecutive division title last year, some of their players indicated they wouldn't even be in the race if it was the Braves that had Tom Glavine.

While helping the Braves claim a 6-1 win over the Mets in the first game of Tuesday's day-night doubleheader at Turner Field, Glavine showed some of those ex-teammates that they might have known what they were talking about. In addition, while escaping potential first-inning disaster, this 42-year-old southpaw displayed that he still has that stubborn patience that has provided great benefit to both of these organizations.

"He bends, but never breaks. It's amazing," Braves manager Bobby Cox said of Glavine, who retired the final 17 batters he faced. "He's done that his whole life. He can still make pitches and break bats inside."

While Glavine was limiting the Mets to one run and three hits in six innings, Cox's offense was providing a number of timely hits. Mark Teixeira began his first three-hit game of the season with a first-inning RBI single. Two innings later, Brian McCann contributed an RBI single that would give the Braves a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"We got some good pitches to hit today and I think we made the most of all of our opportunities and it turned out for us," said Teixeira, who entered the twin bill's first game with just six hits in his previous 37 at-bats.

Other than McCann's seventh-inning, two-run homer off Aaron Heilman, all of the Braves' offensive damage came at the expense of Mets starter John Maine, who allowed four earned runs and eight hits in just four innings. Maine had gone 5-1 with a 2.25 ERA in the seven starts he had made since lasting just four innings in his April 5 season debut at Turner Field.

While Maine struggled, the Braves pitching staff was simply dominant. Before Jose Reyes singled off Blaine Boyer with two outs in the eighth inning, Glavine, Will Ohman and Boyer had combined to retire 22 consecutive batters. Ohman struck out four of the five batters that he faced.

"Our bullpen did another super job," said Cox, who has seen his relievers post 19 consecutive scoreless innings. "It's amazing how they've picked up the slack with [Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano] missing."

When Glavine allowed five of the first six batters he faced to reach safely, it looked like he might be facing the same disaster he often faced when he pitched against the Braves while with the Mets. But the lone run he surrendered came courtesy of Luis Castillo's solo homer.

After a Ryan Church single loaded the bases with one out, Glavine watched Moises Alou hit a sharp liner that found Chipper Jones' glove at third. Then Glavine again felt fortunate when Mark Kotsay ran down Carlos Delgado's long fly ball to end the inning.

"There was some mistakes I made in that first inning," Glavine said. "But it seemed like after I got through that inning and got that breath of fresh air that I settled down a little bit.

"It was much like pitching against the Braves when I had to come back here. There was always that little bit different adrenaline that you have to try to keep under control."

When Glavine halted his 17-year career with the Braves to join the Mets before the 2003 season, he encountered plenty of struggles against his former team. It took him five starts to beat the Braves and he won just one of his first 11 starts against them.

This was weighing on Glavine's mind when he awoke on Tuesday. In addition, the right knee that had been sore the previous three weeks was providing a little more discomfort than it had previously.

But the fact that he had trouble locating in the bullpen and again during the first inning, Glavine blamed on the enhanced sense of adrenaline.

"Never in my wildest dreams would I have dreamed that I'd go 17 up and 17 down after that first inning," Glavine said. "They could have easily scored five runs in that inning."

Glavine didn't seem too concerned about his knee and indicated that he'll make his next start. After waiting a career-long seven starts to gain his first win of the season, the veteran southpaw has now won two consecutive starts.

"When I threw pitches the way I wanted to, [the knee] was fine," Glavine said. "But when I got away too far or didn't land right, it didn't feel too good. I think in the back of your mind, you're always waiting for that little bite. I've been dealing with it for a couple of weeks and it's not really bothered me in a game up until today."