PHOENIX (AP)—Two of the baseball’s greatest lefties lived up to their resumes Wednesday night.
“It did come as advertised,” Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. “Two of the best left-handers of their generation went out there and pitched like it.”
The lone score was a home run by Kazuo Matsui on the second pitch of the game—the first time the rookie from Japan had batted against the Big Unit.
“Just one pitch was the difference,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “Thank goodness it was on our side.”
Glavine (5-2) struck out three and walked two—one intentionally—in 7 2-3 innings. He left with a runner on first and two outs in the eighth. Braden Looper pitched 1 1-3 innings for his fifth save in six chances, finishing the three-hitter.
Johnson (3-4) was pulled for a pinch hitter with runners at first and second and two outs in the seventh. He allowed one run and three hits, struck out seven and walked two.
“If you’re a purist of the game, this is the kind of game I think that we all miss,” Glavine said. “It was fun. … Every pitch matters and defensive plays are remembered. It’s not just about who hit a home run and how many times they went deep.”
Glavine improved to 7-1 with a 1.40 ERA at Bank One Ballpark.
It was the first time that two left-handers with at least 233 wins apiece have faced each other, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The 38-year-old Glavine entered the game with 255, Johnson, at age 40, has 233.
Their 488 wins combined were the most by two left-handers who started the same game since Steve Carlton (328 wins) went for Cleveland against Jerry Reuss (196) of California on July 1, 1987.
Yet the two have drastically different styles.
“One pitches with power,” Arizona’s Luis Gonzalez said. “One relies on the hitter’s aggressiveness, getting guys to roll over and hit weak groundballs.”
Johnson has allowed three earned runs in 13 1-3 innings in his last two outings and lost both games. He left the clubhouse without talking to reporters after the game.
Steve Finley walked on four pitches to start the seventh inning, then took second on a passed ball. With two outs, Glavine intentionally walked Matt Kata, then Greg Colbrunn pinch hit for Johnson—and lined out to shortstop.
Johnson was miffed when Brenly pulled him after 6 1-3 innings in his previous outing. Brenly thought he was tiring in that one. This one was different, the manager said.
“I didn’t see any signs that he was tired tonight, but we needed to score,” Brenly said. “A one-run deficit there and Colby hits the ball right on the button, but unfortunately right at somebody.”
Mike Koplove threw two perfect innings of relief for Arizona, but the Diamondbacks never got a runner beyond second base.
Robby Hammock reached first on the shortstop Matsui’s throwing error with one out in the eighth, then Luis Gonzalez hit into a fielder’s choice. Glavine, who had thrown 112 pitches, was replaced by Looper, who got Shea Hillenbrand to ground into a fielder’s choice.
Matsui homered to left field on a 1-0 pitch—all three of his homers have led off games.
“The ball was down. It wasn’t that bad of a pitch,” said Hammock, the Arizona catcher. “He went down and got it and hit it out. He did a good job of hitting right there.”
Matsui was aware of Johnson mostly by reputation.
“I was just thinking fastball all the way,” Matsui said through an interpreter. “I just didn’t want to be overpowered by him. That was all I was thinking—fastball. I don’t think you can get a better result.”
Hammock reached to start the Arizona fourth when third baseman Ty Wigginton’s throw pulled Mike Piazza off first. Gonzalez drove one deep to left field, but Spencer ran it down for the out. Finley’s two-out single put runners at first and second, but Danny Bautista grounded out to end the inning.
“I think Spencer had probably the play of the day on my ball,” Gonzalez said. “He made a good catch on it. He did that the whole World Series (in2001).”
The Mets plan to activate OF Cliff Floyd on Thursday but have not announced what corresponding roster move they will make. … Diamondbacks utilityman Donnie Sadler was struck in the back of the head by a line drive while he was stretching during batting practice. He lost consciousness briefly, then got to his feet. Trainer Paul Lessard said Sadler had a concussion and would undergo further tests. … Piazza started at first for the eighth time this season. … Arizona LHP Casey Fossum will be activated and start Fridayagainst Montreal. RHP Elmer Dessens has been sent to the bullpen.