Tom Glavine pitched a good game, but it wasn’t good enough to beat John Smoltz.
Smoltz had his typical unbelievable performance against the Mets, and received a boatload of magnificent support from his defense.
The Mets’ best chance to score against Smoltz came in the top of the third, when they loaded the bases with two out for David Wright. Wright made a check swing with two strikes that the first base umpire ruled was a swing to end the threat. Replays from every angle showed that Wright had checked the swing, and that the pitch was outside and low, but unfortunately the replays mean nothing. Their only other threat came the very next inning, again with two outs, when Paul LoDuca was standing on third and Ruben Gotay at bat. Gotay slashed a wicked grounder that appeared to be destined for right field, but Kelly Johnson made a fantastic diving play to stop the ball and throw Gotay out at first to end the inning.
Oh, and then there was the ninth, when the Mets got the first two runners on, moved them to second and third on a Gotay sacrifice, but only managed one lousy run on a putrid check swing grounder by pinch-hitter Julio Franco. Jose Reyes followed with a just-as-putrid infield popup to end any possibility of a tie, stranding pinch-runner Carlos Gomez at third base.
Meantime, Glavine gave up two runs — one on a sac fly in the first and the other on a solo homer by Matt Diaz leading off the second. He finished up completing six innings, allowing five hits, two walks, and two runs, striking out two, on 110 pitches. Any other night, that output probably results in a win.
Glavine is now 3-10 career against the Braves.
Aaron Heilman retired the Braves 1-2-3 on five pitches in the eighth.
John Smoltz, behind his slippery slider, won his 200th freakin’ game.
Carlos Beltran was 2-for-3 with a walk. Yippee!
Ruben Gotay must have bumped into Willie Randolph on his way into the clubhouse and introduced himself, because Randolph started him at second base. Gotay played flawlessly in the field, dropped the key bunt in the ninth, stroked a line drive base hit in the seventh, and should have had a second hit and RBI in the fourth but was robbed by Johnson. For someone who should have been rusty, he swung the bat a-ight.
The Mets continue south to play the Marlins on Friday night. Jason Vargas is listed as starting against Sergio Mitre, but word is that Orlando Hernandez is ready to come back and take his turn instead. Game time is 7:05 PM.