Glavine puts usual lock on Nats, 3-1

Mastery over franchise continues in Mets' win

Baseball

April 23, 2005|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - It was a combination steeped in failure for the Washington Nationals.

New York's Tom Glavine was at his finest last night, his pitches dipping and swerving all around home plate.

And Washington's offense was at its worst - flailing, impatient and totally ineffective when given golden opportunities.

It added up to a familiar result for Glavine, a 3-1 win over the Nationals, a franchise he has dominated all of his career.

"It seemed like the ball had eyes on it," said Washington's J.J. Davis. "He had his stuff going tonight."

Glavine, who has beaten Washington's former identity, the Montreal Expos, more than any other pitcher in the franchise's history, picked up where he left off against the Nationals.

Allowing just two hits through seven strong innings, the 39-year-old left-hander recorded his first win of the season in front of 28,488 on a bitterly cold night at Shea Stadium.

It was his 28th victory over the Expos/Nationals, his most against any big league team. Most of those wins came while he was with the Atlanta Braves.

"Glavine is Glavine," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "He's been doing it for a lot of years. You can't judge Glavine by what he did tonight against us because everybody basically walked out there doing the same thing. We don't seem to come to compete until about the sixth or seventh inning of the ball game."

The Nationals (9-8) nearly mounted a comeback once Glavine (1-2) left after the seventh. Mets reliever Roberto Hernandez hit Tony Blanco with a pitch to start the eighth and Brad Wilkerson followed with a double.

But with the tying runs in scoring position and no outs, the Nationals couldn't get a ball out of the infield. Guzman hit a dribbler in front of the plate and was thrown out by Mets catcher Mike Piazza. Jose Vidro struck out and Jose Guillen hit a foul pop to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz.

The Nationals threatened again in the ninth when Nick Johnson led off with a double, but Mets closer Braden Looper stranded him at third for his second save.

Washington's best chance to get to Glavine came in the first when he issued a two-out walk to Vidro, a double to Guillen and loaded the bases with a walk to Johnson.

Vinny Castilla grounded out to end the inning and Glavine retired 18 of the next 20, allowing only a Cristian Guzman homer. Glavine struck out seven and kept the Nationals constantly swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.

"Glavine has pitched the same way for 35 years," Robinson said. "And the only way you are going to have some success against him is to understand what he is doing for 35 years and take that away from him. You cannot pull Glavine, .. You have to make him throw strikes."

Nationals starter Esteban Loaiza (0-1) allowed six hits and five walks in five innings. New York scored its first two runs on groundouts in the third and then Cliff Floyd hit a towering homer to right in the fifth.

"[Loaiza] was behind almost everybody. He threw a lot of pitches in a very short time," Robinson said. "But again the game did not get out of hand."

NOTES: Castilla's error on a sixth-inning grounder was his first miscue in 272 chances, a record for third basemen. The previous mark was set by Milwaukee's Don Money in 1973-74. Castilla's errorless streak went back 89 games to July 4, 2004 while he was with Colorado. The all-time errorless games record for a third baseman is 99, held by Jeff Cirillo and John Wehner ... Johnson's double extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

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