Glavine Majors' second to eight wins

Glavine Majors' second to eight wins

MIAMI -- Excelling has long since become a habit for left-hander Tom Glavine, who on Saturday won his sixth straight game for the fifth time in his distinguished career. Yet even Glavine had to take a step back to acknowledge the play of the Mets' young third baseman.

David Wright, who missed Friday night's game with back spasms, returned to the lineup with a vengeance on Saturday, going 4-for-4 with a walk, a run scored and two RBIs as the Mets defeated the Marlins, 7-4, before 13,037 at Dolphin Stadium.

His big game was even more important with the Mets resting their biggest left-handed power hitters -- Carlos Delgado and Cliff Floyd -- because the Marlins were starting southpaw Dontrelle Willis.

"He's one of those rare players that I would categorize that he can be as good as he wants to be," Glavine said of Wright. "He's got all the talent in the world. For a young kid, he makes adjustments in a game as well as anybody I've seen. That includes a lot of veteran guys."

Wright acknowledged afterward that he "could hardly walk" when he came to Dolphin Stadium on Friday. But he received treatment from a chiropractor and other medics, and he came to the stadium on Saturday determined to play.

Wright said that he went through his first chiropractic experience before Saturday's game, and it helped.

"I just heard a lot of cracking," he said. "He worked on that area for a while, and it loosened up quite a bit."

Still, Wright's back still bothered him some during the game, particularly as he swung the bat and ranged to his left to field several grounders.

"It felt tight, and there were spots where it was sore," he said. "You're not going to have too many games where you go out and you're 100 percent. So I think you have to play through little things like this."

The Marlins wish he hadn't. Wright provided the impetus for Glavine with a run-producing double in the third inning. That drove in Chris Woodward, who had doubled, and would have driven in Carlos Beltran had the ball not bounced into the center-field stands for a ground-rule hit.

"I think I just relaxed," Wright said. "I went up there relaxed and just tried to see the ball. I know Dontrelle tries to pound me inside, so I just tried to go the other way, with an inside-out swing."

It worked. All of Wright's hits were to right-center or right field, two of them off Willis. He later scored a run after doubling, and he drove in a run with a single.

"It's good to be young, man," manager Willie Randolph said. "That's what it gets down to. Don't read too much into the fact that he had a stiff back and spasms and wasn't feeling comfortable. Thank goodness it wasn't serious. He's a tough kid."

Wright said that he was "bored out of my mind" on the bench on Friday night. He said that he kept walking around and fiddling with a bat or glove.

"I think Willie was going to play me today just so I wouldn't be able to annoy him anymore," Wright said with a smile.

And Wright was motivated to play, because of such respect he has for players who play injured.

"I look up to guys like that," he said. "I don't think I'll be a guy who tries to milk stuff or take days off."

Meanwhile, Glavine, who allowed six hits and three runs in 7 2/3 innings, had a perfect game after five innings. He turned out to be the lone likely Hall of Fame candidate among Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux whom the Marlins didn't defeat in their last three games.

Glavine lost his perfect game when Reggie Abercrombie led off the sixth with a hard double to left. Matt Treanor scored him with a soft single to center. Glavine said that he threw Abercrombie a 2-2 changeup.

"That was the one pitch that I guided a little bit," Glavine said.

Things got a little messy for Glavine in the eighth, when he gave up a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Joe Borchard. Still, he now is tied for the Major League lead in victories.

"I feel confident going out there right now," he said. "I feel good about what I'm doing, and because of that, I feel I have a chance to go every night and pitch deep into the game."

Glavine had a good news/bad news feeling about the heat and humidity that enveloped Dolphin Stadium on Saturday. The bad: he was concerned about tiring prematurely. The good: he said he had a strong feel for all of his pitches, which isn't always true in cold-weather games.

As well as things are going for him, Glavine understands that he should never take anything for granted. "I'm just trying to go with the flow as long as I can," he said.

The Mets also got some help from part-time players in the victory. Backup catcher Ramon Castro's one-out home run in the fourth gave the Mets a 2-0 lead. Julio Franco, starting for Delgado at first base, had a run-scoring single among his two hits. And Woodward, playing for Floyd in left, had a hit and scored two runs.

"All my guys are capable of having big days," Randolph said. "That's why I use them."

Charlie Nobles is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.