Glavine and the Mets look to push the Los Angeles Dodgers to the brink of elimination when the best-of-five NL division series continues Thursday at Shea Stadium.
“I was very excited,” said Delgado, who became the fourth Met to have four hits in a postseason game, joining Rusty Staub (1973), Lenny Dykstra (1986) and Kevin McReynolds (1988). “I had butterflies in my stomach the first couple innings. I was saying, ‘Whoa, what is going on here?’ But I was able to kind of control my emotions and just go out and play.”
The Dodgers took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning, although it could have been bigger if not for a costly baserunning error. Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew had leadoff singles, and Russell Martin followed with a hit to the right-field corner. But Kent hesitated, thinking the ball would be caught, and Drew trailed him close behind after the ball dropped.
“(Home plate umpire John Hirschbeck) sort of gave me a ‘(Kent’s) out but you’d better watch out because somebody else is coming’ look,” Lo Duca said. “I turned around, and (Drew) was right there.”
The win provided a big boost for the Mets, who were frantically shuffling their postseason rotation. Projected No. 1 starter Pedro Martinez tore a tendon in his left calf the last week of the season and it was later determined he would miss the first half of the 2007 season to undergo rotator cuff surgery.
Orlando Hernandez—originally his replacement for Game 1—suffered a calf injury that will sideline him for the playoffs. Rookie John Maine worked in and out of trouble, giving up one run and six hits in 4 1-3 innings without receiving a decision in the Game 1 win.
“All year long we’ve had guys who picked each other up,” general manager Omar Minaya said. “I’m confident somebody will pick up El Duque.”
Glavine, who went 15-7 with a 3.82 ERA this season, experienced his own health scare in August when an exam found a blood clot in his throwing shoulder that threatened to end his career. The left-hander ended up missing just two weeks.
Manager Willie Randolph said Glavine’s presence will stabilize the Mets’ staff.
“It’s a valuable thing when you go into a situation like this,” Randolph said. “It’s very comforting knowing you have a Tommy Glavine, a real solid veteran guy who’s not going to waver or scare in a situation like this.
“Tommy threw well the last couple times out, and we’re looking forward to getting past this one and giving Tommy the ball tomorrow.”
Glavine is 20-18 with a 3.69 ERA in 48 starts against the Dodgers. He has won five straight starts against them since 2003, including two this year in which he allowed six runs and 12 hits in 12 2-3 innings.
It’s the first playoff appearance for the 40-year-old since 2002, when he lost two starts against the San Francisco Giants in the National League Division Series while pitching for the Atlanta Braves.
“I’m not going to go out there tomorrow and try and undo what happened in 2002,” said Glavine, who is 12-15 with a 3.44 ERA in 32 playoff starts. “I mean, you can’t go back, you can only go forward and try and do a better job. I wasn’t pitching well at the time, and I feel a lot better about where I am as a pitcher right now going into the postseason.”
As Glavine looks for his 21st career win against the Dodgers, Hong-Chih Kuo (1-5, 4.22) looks for his second win over New York. The rookie is making his sixth career start and first postseason appearance after making an impressive debut Sept. 9 as a starter against the Mets.
The 25-year-old left-hander scattered three hits in six innings in a 5-0 win. He also made two scoreless relief appearances against the Mets, allowing one hit over three innings.
“He’s not scared of anyone,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “He’s got good stuff, he challenges hitters, he works fast. That’s all we’re looking for again (Thursday).”
Green, who played for the Dodgers from 2000-04, is 3-for-7 with a double and RBI against Kuo.
The series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Saturday.