Wright's bat gets Glavine win No. 10

Wright's bat gets Glavine win No. 10

NEW YORK -- Baseball pitchers are creatures of habit. On game days, they like to arrive at the ballpark around the same time and they make sure they go through the same routine.

The Mets as a team have been winning games this year in the same habitual fashion, coming up with the timely hit, making a game-changing catch or having a role player step in when needed. It's been habit, and it's worked.

Tom Glavine began his day on Sunday a bit differently from the norm. Instead of going through the same pregame ritual that has allowed him to become the Mets' most consistent starter this year, the 40-year-old father spent a couple of hours before the game against the Orioles at Shea Stadium by playing catch and Wiffle ball with his two sons, Peyton and Mason. He admitted it was particularly different for a pitcher who is a creature of habit. But it was well worth it.

And while Glavine strayed a bit from his methods before the game, it was business as usual during his outing against the Orioles as the Mets pounded out nine hits to win, 9-4, on Father's Day in front of 43,393. The Mets found their stride again after two lackluster performances on Friday and Saturday, both games which they lost.

Glavine went six innings and allowed nine hits and four runs, with six strikeouts and no walks to pick up his 10th victory of the season. Glavine was the first pitcher in the Majors to 10 wins this season, and was matched by Detroit's Kenny Rogers, who picked up his 10th win later in the day when the Tigers beat the Cubs.

"It was a long day, but a fun day," said Glavine, who has now won the eight of his last 10 starts. "You don't usually begin the day when you're going to start by throwing the Wiffle ball around the field, but these days are the ones to be cherished."

Glavine (10-2) took the mound against Adam Loewen, who was 4 years old when the Mets southpaw made his Major League debut in 1987 with the Braves. For the first four innings, the youngster was on his way to spoiling Father's Day for the veteran ace as the Orioles staked a 1-0 lead.

But as the Mets of habit have done all year long, they broke through in the fifth and never looked back.

With two outs, Jose Reyes slapped a single past Melvin Mora at third. Loewen then hit Eli Marrero and Carlos Beltran with pitches.

After a visit from pitching coach Leo Mazzone, the 22-year-old left-hander faced David Wright.

The Mets' third baseman stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and turned on the first pitch from Loewen, sending it deep into the left-field bullpen for the third grand slam of his career.

"I thought he'd go up there and put something across the plate with his first pitch," said Wright, who finished the day 3-for-4 with five RBIs and two runs scored. "He got me out on the same pitch the time before, and I was pretty sure he'd come with the same thing. I decided to be aggressive on the first pitch, and it worked out well."

The crowd, which had been sweltering in 90-degree heat, jumped at the crack of the bat. The noise level rose at Shea and the Mets erased the past two days of dismal play.

Just like that.

"David's turned himself into a really good hitter, an intelligent hitter who makes adjustments," said Glavine. "He's embraced those opportunities and he's been one of the guys who's played big for us."

Mets skipper Willie Randolph reiterated Glavine's statement, and added the fact that the Mets bench has performed in timely fashion. Sunday was a case in point, considering Marrero started in right field, Julio Franco at first base, Chris Woodward at second, and Ramon Castro behind the plate.

"Good players [like Wright] do that, by stepping up at the right time and coming through with a big hit," said Randolph, who hesitated calling Wright a star rather than another one of his better players on the team. "But we're not a good ballclub without a good bench. I come from a winning tradition, and I've learned that to be a championship team, you have to have a strong bench that contributes just as much as your starters."

Castro finished the game 2-for-4 with a solo home run, Franco went 1-for-4 with a run scored and Marrero reached base three times and scored a run. But, as has been habit for the Mets this season, it was their defense at the right moments that stood out, particularly a diving play by Marrero on a drive by Mora that ended the seventh inning with the tying run on second base.

"That last play was probably the one that saved the game for us," said Glavine. "We've been successful this year because we've been able to put different guys in the lineup who can get the job done, either at the plate or in the field. It's a luxury that we have and they've done a great job."

And, as habit would have it, the Mets followed Marrero's play by putting across four runs in the seventh to open up the game, with key hits and plays by starters and role players alike.

Reyes singled to lead off the inning, and Marrero moved him over to second with a sacrifice bunt. Carlos Beltran reached on an errant throw by Mora. Wright stroked a single to left to score Reyes. Then Franco singled to left to bring in Beltran, followed by Wright, who was hustling on the play and scored on Luis Matos' bad throw home.

Wright was initially called out, but then ruled safe after third-base umpire Doug Eddings said Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada interfered with Wright as he rounded third.

The crowd erupted into chants of "MVP, MVP."

But after the game, Wright shrugged it off, acknowledging the play of his teammates instead.

"It obviously brings a smile to your face, but we have several legit MVP players on this team and I don't really consider myself one," said Wright, who leads the National League at third base for the All-Star voting. "It just seems like with this team, we've been able to make things happen all year."

Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.