Glavine haunts Mets in opener

Glavine haunts Mets in opener

ATLANTA -- Much of the optimism that developed within the Mets over the weekend at Yankee Stadium seemed dispelled Tuesday when they brought their schizophrenia to Turner Field.

Not only were they undone by the Braves in the first game of their day-night doubleheader, not only was it Tom Glavine who was the primary un-doer, but the Mets' offense reverted to what it had been before the weekend -- all but invisible.

The result was a disheartening 6-1 loss the Braves, the first Mets opponent in 10 games not in last place, and the returning sense that every two steps forward comes with one step in the opposite direction.

As the Mets were losing for the third time in three games at Turner Field this season, the two weekend games in the Bronx seemed as though they never happened. After a first inning that could have exploded in Glavine's face, the Mets were again the team that had been shut out by the Nationals on Thursday, incapable of any sort of firepower.

The same players who spoke of momentum gained in the Bronx discounted its impact after the final eight innings -- five against Glavine -- produced three hits and no semblence of threat.

"You don't win games with momentum," David Wright said. "Getting hits and making pitches wins games."

"The weekend is behind us," Carlos Delgado said. "We have to deal with what's in front of us."

Standing in front of them at first was their former teammate, now 42 and days removed from his first victory. Glavine was pitching against the Mets for the first time since 2002. He was in control of neither his emotions nor his pitches at first, and his right knee ached on certain pitches.

That adversity and some good fortune showed in the first inning which, no doubt, brought his final Mets start to the minds of all involved. He endured a miserable first inning, worth seven runs and a permanent stain on his New York image that day, Sept. 30. But this one produced merely one run -- a home run by Luis Castillo, of all people.

Castillo hit his first home run since August last year, the 25th of his career and the second off Glavine.

Before the inning was over, the Mets had loaded the bases, but Glavine -- in his own words -- got lucky. Moises Alou lined out to third and Delgado lined out to right. Not that anyone recognized it at the moment, but the Mets' offense had begun a hibernation that lasted until a two-out single by Jose Reyes in the eighth inning. They produced no baserunners in that span.

"I thought we let him off the hook," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "We had him in trouble, but we didn't get that big hit." And that after scoring 18 runs in two games against the Yankees. "We've been up and down like that for a while," the manager said.

While Glavine and his successors were taming the Mets, the Braves had their way with John Maine, one of Glavine's protégés. Maine (5-3) was gone after 99 pitches and four-plus innings. The Braves would score one run -- charged to him -- after his early departure, as they had scored in the first, third and fourth innings. Maine allowed eight hits and three walks while facing merely 20 batters. A two-run home run by Brian McCann against Aaron Heilman in the seventh inning produced Atlanta's final runs.

Heilman continued to perplex the Mets. He walked his first batter. The home run that followed was the fifth against the Mets reliever in 21 2/3 innings this season.

Glavine (2-1) allowed three hits and a walk in the first inning. His four strikeouts came in subsequent innings. He now has a 17-7 record in 36 career starts against the Mets. He hadn't beaten them since June 8, 2002.

"He knows what he's doing," Wright said. "He had a game plan because he knew us so well. But a lot of pitchers are hard-headed and don't make adjustments if the plan isn't working. Tom makes changes and he usually figures out a way."

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