Glavine Only One Away

It wasn't a pretty beginning. After striking out the .238-hitting Nate McLouth, 12 of Tom Glavine's next 19 pitches were called balls as he walked the less-than-formidable trio of Sanchez, LaRoche and Bay to load the bases with Xavier Nady coming to the plate.

The future Hall of Famer looking frazzled early on...

The night before of course, the former Met smacked an RBI double in the first inning of his homecoming and quite frankly you began to sense after Glavine's miserable outing with a six-run lead against the Dodgers the last time he was on the mound was no fluke, but a pattern.

Glavine induced Nady into grounding into a double play however and by doing so, deflating Pirate hopes early on in the game.

Thereafter, Glavine was reasonably effective, allowing a lone single in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings.

HeeHeeHeeHoHoHoHaHaHa, It's Only the Pirates...

By then, thanks in large part to the suddenly inspired Paul Lo Duca, who until last night had been hitting a highly uninspired .190 with runners in scoring position and .207 overall since June, drove a bases-loaded double to left field for two runs in the first inning, the Mets' and Glavine's worries appeared to be few as they opened 6-0 lead. Lo Duca doubled home two runs again in the third inning - a sign that his summer-long struggles at the plate have ended or a mere hiccup of success in an otherwise hot-headed and dissatisfying season?

Jason Bay's three-run homer in the 5th, his third homer in two nights off Met pitching, halved the lead and again sent many wondering if Glavine were in for a repeat, another 6-run lead fed to the pigs.

But instead of disaster, Glavine earned victory 299 in a less-than-inspired outing of 6 innings wherein he allowed 3 runs, those 3 walks and 8 hits - sufficient pitching was about the best you could say for it and even as he nears immortality as he nears victory number 300 you really have to wonder why or how Glavine could be considered the staff ace any longer.

With the Pirates deflated, Aaron Heilman and Billy Wagner teamed to throw the final three innings in hitless and scoreless fashion - Heilman has now retired the last 16 batters he's faced and Wagner has now earned his 23rd save in 24 opportunities.

Of note, the batting order was juggled with Carlos Beltran sitting this one out. The versatile and ever-exciting Lastings Milledge
more than adequate filling the millionaire's shoes with a pair of hits to lift his batting average up to .283 on the season and starting two rallies from the number two hole in the order.

His spot in left field, the near-permanent abyss left in Moises Alou's permanent injury wake, was filled by second baseman Marlon Anderson, who responded with a walk and an RBI single.

Overall, the kind of game you might expect against the Pirates near the end of July: unexciting by and large, plodding almost, and victorious as the Mets stand on the doorstep of sweeping the Pirates. The game's high point of excitement was generated by the Pirate's manager Jim Tracey for getting ejected in the third inning for throwing his hat and making futile arguments against his Jason Bay trapping Shawn Green's fly ball. Losing 10 out of 11 does that to a manager.

Looking older by the hour waiting for next Tuesday in Milwaukee...

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