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Glavine chased in fourth inning as Braves spank MetsPosted: Saturday May 24, 2003 4:14 PM
Updated: Sunday May 25, 2003 2:54 AM
ATLANTA (AP) -- Nothing seemed right about Tom Glavine's return to Turner Field -- not his uniform, not the smattering of boos from the crowd and certainly not his performance.
Glavine, a stalwart of the Atlanta Braves' rotation for 16 seasons, got knocked around in his first start against his old team Saturday, leaving after only 3 1/3 innings as the Braves beat the New York Mets 10-4.
"For now, I'm disappointed in how it went, but I'm glad it's over with," said Glavine, who was bothered by a blister on the index finger of his pitching hand.
"Our ballclub was really fired up to face him," Atlanta left fielder Chipper Jones said. "A first-ballot Hall of Famer, a friend, a brother, a teammate, all those things. It was a little sad when he left."
Glavine (5-4) gave up six runs and eight hits, his worst start since the Cubs pounded him for five runs on eight hits on opening day. In his previous start, he held the San Francisco Giants to one run in 8 1/3 innings.
"It was strange," Glavine said. "I really wasn't ready for how strange it was. But after the first inning, I felt pretty good."
The crowd of 40,912 was the largest of the season at Turner Field, and reactions to Glavine were strong. When he walked to the bullpen before the game, he received a loud chorus of boos. But when he took the mound in the first inning, the boos eventually were drowned out by a brief standing ovation.
Glavine remained stoic and didn't acknowledge the response.
"I'm just a guy who likes to go about my business and do my thing," Glavine said. "I'm not comfortable with all the attention.
"But there was a lot of cheering from a lot of people, and I'm extremely appreciative of that. I always tried to conduct myself professionally on and off the field, and you hope people respect you for that."
In the third, when he came to the plate for the first time, there was another standing ovation. Glavine said something to longtime batterymate Lopez, who in turn slapped Glavine playfully on the helmet.
"I'm glad he got the ovation that he did because there's no one more responsible for the Braves being where they are today," Chipper Jones said.
Glavine helped the Braves win 11 straight division titles and the 1995 World Series. He signed as a free agent with the Mets, who gave him a three-year contract with an option for a fourth season that could make the deal worth $42.5 million.
The appearance by Glavine overshadowed the performance of Atlanta rookie Horacio Ramirez (4-2), who held the Mets to two runs and four hits through seven innings. A surprise addition to the rotation after a brilliant spring, Ramirez prepared for this start as he has his previous ones -- by studying video of Glavine.
"I was just focusing on doing my job," Ramirez said. "I don't believe in all the hype. All we have to do as pitchers is turn in a solid performance, the way our guys are hitting."
After an easy first, Glavine struggled through the rest of his outing. Andruw Jones led off the second with a 409-foot home run to left-center on a 1-0 changeup, and the Braves added two more runs in the third.
Rafael Furcal and Sheffield both had run-scoring doubles, and after Glavine walked Chipper Jones, New York manager Art Howe and trainer Scott Lowrenson went to the mound to check on Glavine's blister.
They looked closely at it, but Glavine stayed in and retired Fick on a flyout to center to end the inning.
"I probably should have called it quits after the second inning," Glavine said. "But I'm a little more stubborn than that."
He returned for the fourth, and Lopez led off that inning with a towering home run to center field, his fourth in three games. Glavine left after allowing a single to Vinny Castilla and a ground-rule double to Rafael Furcal.
Cerda relieved and gave up a two-run homer to Sheffield, back-to-back singles by Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones and a three-run shot to Fick. That made it 10-0.
"To come back home and pitch, especially when things are not going our way, had to be tough," New York catcher Vance Wilson said of Glavine. "He wanted to stay in there as long as he could, and we needed that."
The Mets finally got to Ramirez in the seventh, loading the bases with no outs. Tsuyoshi Shinjo scored when Jason Phillips hit into a double play, and Jeromy Burnitz brought home Ty Wigginton with a single to right.
Notes: Sheffield left the game in the seventh a triple short of hitting for the cycle. He's hitting .367. ... Atlanta RHP Russ Ortiz, who was the losing pitcher Friday night, pinch-hit for Ramirez in the bottom of the seventh. He grounded out to the pitcher. ... New York LHP Mike Stanton wasn't available due to a sore knee. He's day-to-day and expects to be ready by early next week. ... The largest crowd at Turner Field before Saturday came on Opening Day, when 40,244 watched the Expos beat the Braves 10-2.