Glavine of old defeats Braves

Glavine of old defeats Braves

ATLANTA -- In the considered opinion of Cornelius Clifford Floyd, the Mets made a memory Saturday night. Right here in the very ballpark where so often they had made a mess, they manufactured a moment or two that will linger in their minds and even take up permanent residence if Professor Floyd is right. With his mind wrapped around the Mets' stirring 1-0 victory against the Braves, Floyd only could hope for full retention of the evening's developments.

"I've always said, 'Teams that win 90, 95 games ... they remember the good things,'" Floyd said. "And teams that win only 80 or less, all they remember is the bad stuff."

In that sense, these 2006 Mets are intent on being a team of the 90s, replete with moments, magic, memories and more. "I want to remember this," Floyd said.

Their memory banks already have their first 2006 deposits, and another significant one was made when Billy Wagner struck out Jeff Francoeur to create a Saturday Night Special of a different kind. It was the 27th out of the Mets' second straight victory at Turner Field, a victory that put them seven games ahead of the team they usually trail. It was the final out of Tom Glavine's 278th victory and the last moment of his first "Tom Glavine" victory at Turner Field against the Braves.

It was a game of distinction because of those and other developments, but mostly because of the score. As Jeff Innis, the Mets reliever of 15 years ago, once said, "When it's one-nothin', you've won somethin'."

The score and the resulting tension made all the components of the Mets' first shutout seem bigger or better or bolder. Glavine was good for seven innings, but in his own estimation, not great. The score, he said, "made it a pitchers' game" and his performance "a whole lot better than it really was."

The score made Paul Lo Duca's first home run as a Met, in the sixth inning against losing pitcher John Thomson, seem longer and louder. It made the Mets' ninth-inning double play better, and, most of all, the 1-0 score made the two brilliant catches Floyd made in left field ... well, more memorable.

"We win this thing, " Floyd said, "they'll be historic."

Though Lo Duca provided the evening's only offense, he said, "Cliffy won the game." And no one argued, especially not Glavine.

"The first one saved two runs," he said.

"Floyd made the catch of the night tonight," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "If he doesn't, we win, 2-1."

The play came in the fourth after Glavine had retired Andruw Jones and Francoeur. He then allowed two of the four singles the Braves managed against him. With Matt Diaz on third base and Brian Jordan on first, Todd Pratt hit a would-be double to the left-center-field gap. Glavine thought it was the third out, until he turned and saw it tailing away from Floyd. Carlos Beltran, back in center field after his hamstring sabbatical, thought he'd have to retrieve the ball on the warning track.

And Floyd, as he sprinted, said to himself -- and the ball -- "Please come out of the lights. Please." His long run ended with a dive and a horizontal, highlight-video catch, maybe the Mets' most important play of the year, given the ballpark, the opponent and the score.

"I wanted to do something finally to help us win," he said. "Give my parents something to see instead of 0-for-4."

Floyd also charged the line drive Francoeur hit in the sixth inning and produced another third out. "When you ain't hitting," he said, "you gotta do something."

Most of what Floyd did will be reflected in Glavine's record, now 3-2. The veteran southpaw now has won 50 times at Turner, but only twice in eight starts as a Met and only once in a shutout game. This place had been as much of a house of horrors for him as it had been for the Mets.

Glavine acknowledged he was gratified to win and pitch as effectively as he did in the city where he is a memory -- albeit one who is booed on sight.

"I guess I was here too long," he said. "Julio [Franco] gets cheered."

But Glavine was too tactful and professional to demonstrate the glee inside. He said, earlier this month, he'd enjoy being on the team that unseats the Braves. Glavine will remember this night no matter how many games he wins.

His Mets record here is 2-5, their record here after winning two straight games in one series for the first time since April 2002 is 22-51. Between those successive victories and these two, the Mets lost 28 of 35 and a lot of sleep.

Now they have won a series here for the first time since late August 2003, and they have a chance to sweep in this city for the first since before Franco's big-league debut in 1979. And they have a chance to put the Braves eight games behind them.

It's only April, and as Wagner said, "I never pay that much attention [to the race] in April."

Glavine expects the Braves to run off a spurt as they always have, especially now that their infield is back intact.

"But," Floyd said, "they know they have to play better and we know we do. We're a better team that last year. We expect to be better."

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.