Wright's homers give Glavine No. 295
Mets 'pen hangs on to push lefty closer to 300 career victories
NEW YORK -- In the home clubhouse, afterglow and postgame delight. In the other clubhouse, subdued aftermath and postmortem analysis. The difference on the field between the Mets and the Yankees in two games during Interleague Play has been stark. The difference in their postgame posture is even more dramatic.
The Yankees are searching and denying and probably fretting. The Mets are laughing -- at themselves, mostly -- and enjoying all that the merry month of May has provided them.
So it was early Saturday evening after a strange and strained Interleague Play encounter in which this city's baseball teams continued to move in opposite directions. Winning, 10-7, tickled the Mets. Losing, 10-7, tormented the Yankees. There are two sides to every story, somebody once determined.
This one appeared to be a laugher in the making when the Mets led, 8-2, after four innings. Even Willie Randolph, their pedal-to-the-metal manager, acknowledged, "For a while, you thought it might be a breeze."
Then it became a test of his team's survival skills. The Yankees and soaking rain were the challenges. And along the way, Tom Glavine gained the 295th victory of his career, and David Wright hit two balls "out of the world."
Yet when the Mets gathered in the clubhouse, their focus was on a ninth-inning play by Billy Wagner that brought out his self-depricating side and their self-sarcasm. In the other clubhouse, reason to smile was difficult to find.
"I was pitching in a puddle," Wagner said, all the while smiling. "Then I had to make a play in that slop?"
Ultimately, Wagner's play, a rushed -- out of necessity -- throw to the plate in an attempt to achieve an out, had no bearing on the outcome. The Mets still won for the 13th time in 18 games this month even though "the only play I had," according to Wagner, did nothing but reinforce the Yankees' resistance.
Trailing, 10-6, with one out in the ninth, the Yankees had Alex Rodriguez on third base and Jorge Posada on first after hits off Wagner. Bobby Abreu hit a ball back at the Mets closer, all 5-foot-9 of him. Wagner jumped, turned, slipped, twisted, turned and finally threw home, of all places. His throw was wide and flew past Paul Lo Duca as the catcher reached for it. The Yankees had a run, runners on first and third and still two more outs before their fifth defeat in six games would be complete.
Wagner achieved those outs, striking out Robinson Cano and Josh Phelps and sending most of the remnants of another sellout crowd home happy and hoarse. But the play that preceded the outs was fine fodder for clubhouse fun, the kind that only winning teams can share.
"Were you a wreck when I made that play?" Wagner asked Mets general manager Omar Minaya.
"No," Minaya said, searching for a softer word. "I wasn't a wreck."
Wagner: "Well, what did you think when I made that play?"
Minaya: "What is he doing?"
Wagner: "Paulie's eyes said the same thing."
Lo Duca was still laughing after his shower and shampoo. "He was, what, 50 feet away and he threw it 108? That's the best stuff he showed all year."
"Obviously," Wagner said, "it wasn't the wisest play. But it's the only one I had. My only though was, 'Get an out.' But I had no chance at first base. I was spinning around. If I make that throw to first, it's going down the line, and they're still running.
"But, really, Paulie was the one at fault. He was yelling, 'Home, home, home.'"
And so it went, the Mets laughing at the Mets and, to a small degree, feeling a tad sorry for the Yankees.
"When you see all that's gone wrong for them," Glavine said, "yeah, you feel a little sorry."
With the Yankees seemingly serving as accomplices at times, the Mets had temporarily turned the proud defending American League East champions into sympathetic figures in the early innings. Cano was making bad throws and bad plays. Yankees starter Darrell Rasner broke his right index finger on the second play in the bottom of the first. Wright's second two-run home run, in the third inning, bounced off the pocket of Johnny Damon's glove and landed over the fence in left-center field.
"I had one taken away like that this year [by Ryan Church of the Nationals]," Wright said. "It's not a good feeling."
Wright's first homer, in the first inning -- both came off Mike Myers, Rasner's replacement -- was beyond the reach of all outfielders and most fans, landing high in the bleachers. The Yankees had seen enough by that point. Wright was walked intentionally in his final three plate appearances.
That only underscored the sense of sympathy. But that sense dissipated quickly when the Yankees scored once in the seventh -- Scott Schoeneweis allowed one of Glavine's runners to score -- and three times in the eighth, when Schoeneweis surrendered home runs by Rodriguez and Posada. The score was 8-6.
"It got a little hairy for a while," Randolph said.
But the Mets scored twice in the eighth on a pinch-hit single by Julio Franco and Cano's third error. Wagner was given a 10-6 lead.
"I went from, 'You're not pitching'" to save situation to four-run lead to pitching in a puddle and a nightmare," Wagner said.
He recalled the Saturday game at Shea against the Yankees last May when he squandered a four-run lead and, before anyone could ask, he said: "No -- no flashbacks."
Only laughs. It's good to be in first place.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.