NEW YORK (AP)—At age 39 and in his 18th full season in the major leagues, Tom Glavine proved there’s always something to be learned in baseball.
Glavine reinvented himself midway through the year, adding a cutter and a curveball to his repertoire and he showed them off Thursday night with a two-hitter, pitching the New York Mets to an 11-0 romp over the Colorado Rockies.
The Mets made it easy for Glavine with a 15-hit attack that included four home runs. David Wright hit two and reached 100 RBIs for the season, while Mike Piazza started what almost certainly is his final series as a Met with the 397th of his career.
But this was a night that belonged to Glavine. Mixing speeds and never topping 86 mph with his fastball, he posted the 275th victory and 24th shutout of his career.
“He was outstanding,” said Willie Randolph, whose team won its 81st game, clinching a .500 finish in his first year as manager. “He’s a pro. It was good to see him look like the Tom Glavine we all know and love. It goes to show what kind of pitcher he is. He did a great job.”
Nobody was happier about it than Glavine (13-13).
“It’s satisfying, obviously, in the short term,” he said. “I had a much better season than the first six weeks indicated. I had a game plan that should enable me to pitch beyond next year. The changes excite me. I’m more excited about where I am as a pitcher now.”
It showed as he struck out 11 and walked two. The last time he had 11 strikeouts in a game was May 13, 1994, pitching for Atlanta against the Mets at Shea Stadium. It was the 55th complete game of his career.
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle was suitably impressed.
“Obviously, it was a very good way for him to close out his season,” Hurdle said. “He can make a lineup look vulnerable when he’s on top of his game like that. He’s a special pitcher.”
Piazza, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, connected in the fifth inning against Sunny Kim (6-3) after Wright hit the first of his two homers. Piazza’s 19th homer soared an estimated 450 feet to the back of the bleachers in left field.
The 37-year-old catcher was given a standing ovation on every at-bat from the sparse Shea Stadium crowd and responded to their cheers after the homer with a curtain call.
The fans chanted “One More Year!” when he batted later in the game.
“It’s good,” he said. “I’m excited. I’m glad they feel that way. It’s nice to know you’re wanted.”
The Mets gave Glavine an early lead scoring four in the fourth.
Cliff Floyd opened the fourth for New York with a double off the wall in right, just missing a home run. He moved to third on an infield out and scored when Kim’s fourth ball in a walk to Piazza was a wild pitch. Mike Jacobs and Miguel Cairo followed with singles, loading the bases.
Piazza scored on an infield out and Jose Ryes followed with an RBI single. Marlon Anderson followed with an apparent two-run single, but Reyes ran out of the baseline trying to score and was called out by home plate umpire Bill Hohn, ending the inning with New York ahead 4-0.
In the fifth, Floyd walked and Wright followed with his 25th homer to make it 6-0. Piazza followed with the 397th homer of his career, giving him 44th place on the all-time list, one behind Dale Murphy.
Wright’s second homer was a solo shot in the seventh and Jacobs also homered in that inning.
“It’s not about individual goals,” Wright said. “There’s always room to get better. It’s tough to put numbers on goals You always try to improve.”
After retiring the first six batters, Glavine got in trouble in the third when he walked Dustan Mohr leading off and Choo Freeman followed with a single. But Kim struck out bunting and Glavine retired the next two hitters.
Glavine was making the 601st start of his career, third most among active pitchers behind Roger Clemens (670) and Greg Maddux (638). … The Mets need a split in the four-game series to clinch their first winning season since 2001. … When Reyes struck out in the sixth, it was his 683rd at-bat of the season, setting a Mets club record. … Wright became the first Met to reach 100 RBIs since Piazza in 2000. … Wright has three multihomer games this season and four in his career.