Rains give Glavine his 297th win early
Wright provides early lead, with Mother Nature lending a hand
NEW YORK -- With every walk to the mound, with every windup, with every grunt during every pitch, Tom Glavine pushed his 41-year-old arm for just one more.
One more pinpointed fastball. One more sneaky curveball. One more delivery not muscled, but smooth.
But those efforts dealt with his mechanics and repertoire; what he wanted was the result -- career win No. 297.
And on this rain-shortened Wednesday night against the Cardinals, a game preceded by lightning and thunder, Glavine marched a little closer toward milestone win No. 300. He did it with the help of David Wright's two-run homer in the first inning at Shea Stadium, as the Mets beat the Cardinals, 2-0.
After the game -- about one minute after manager Willie Randolph reached through a group of reporters to tap fists with his starting pitcher -- Glavine answered the same question that he's answered about 300 times: How does it feel to get closer to the record?
"It's one day closer," Glavine said. "We'll worry about Monday in Colorado."
The rain started pouring in the middle of the sixth, as the 40,948 in attendance scattered for shelter. And though some fans would periodically hoot and holler for the game to continue, Mother Nature stood firm, and the game was called after a nearly two-hour rain delay.
When it comes to should've, would've and could've, this game featured a dandy.
With one out in the second, Scott Rolen smacked a Glavine pitch down the third-base line. Wright went far to his right and snagged the ball, but his momentum carried him into foul territory. He shifted his weight and got off a strong throw, but it pulled Carlos Delgado off the bag at first.
If Wright's throw had gotten Rolen, Glavine would have recorded a six-inning no-hitter.
"I can't believe it," Glavine said after the game, evoking a laughing fit around his locker. "That goes to show you that you never know on any given play. You have to play each play hard, and obviously, he didn't try very hard."
Randolph said that a shortened no-no by Glavine would be better used for poking fun than anything else.
"Well, they would have an asterisk next to his name," Randolph said. "If David would have made that play on Rolen, it's obviously not a legit no-hitter. But it would have been nice just to talk about it, joke about it."
Wright added: "He wants it the real way. The asterisk bites. He'll live. He'll take the win, I'm sure."
That sounded just fine to Glavine, who improved to 7-5 on the season after striking out one and walking two. He also received some gritty defense from Carlos Gomez, who seemed to catch everything hit his way.
With no one on and one out in the fourth, Gomez chased down a Juan Encarnacion fly ball to deep left. He twisted his body toward the infield and leaped backward, falling into the blue-padded wall with the ball in his glove. That play, Glavine said, helped him get away with one.
Despite a recent streak in which he lost four of five decisions, Glavine on Wednesday made a genius out of Mason Cooley, a U.S. aphorist who once wrote, "Age must give way to youth, no doubt. But not yet, not yet."
Consider this: Given that the Cardinals' roster averages about 30 years of age, Glavine was celebrating his first double-digit birthday while most of the Cardinals' players were either in a crib or not yet born.
Still, Glavine said that even old-timers -- teammate Billy Wagner jokingly referred to him as a 110-year-old on Tuesday -- can get caught up in the special moments that come with a career. So far, however, he said he's kept himself in check about win No. 300.
"I think that so much of it has to do with what's going on in the moment," he said. "If I'm pitching well and I feel good about what I'm doing, then no, that's just kind of the focus of what I'm doing, and so far it hasn't been hard to keep focused on my next start."
Caleb Breakey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.