Mets 3, Marlins 2
NEW YORK (AP)—Tom Glavine aced this playoff test.
Glavine pitched eight sharp innings and the newly crowned NL East champion New York Mets, fielding a makeshift lineup for a game that mattered little to them, rallied to beat the fading Florida Marlins 3-2 Tuesday night.
“As much as I want to win games, it’s not quite as important as getting some things squared away for the postseason,” Glavine said.
The Mets’ lineup did not include anyone who started Monday night’s clincher, and it had six guys hitting under .210. Julio Franco made his first start at third base since 1982, while Michael Tucker played first base and broke in Carlos Delgado’s backup mitt.
“We got our A-minus squad out there today,” manager Willie Randolph kidded before the game.
Still, the Mets cut their magic number to one for clinching the best record in the league and home-field advantage through the NL championship series, if they make it that far.
Glavine (14-6) lasted eight innings for the first time since April 19, and worked on all facets of his repertoire—pitching inside, mixing in a changeup, throwing the breaking ball for strikes.
The lefty gave up four hits and moved past Tommy John into 23rd place on the all-time win list. Glavine had not gone more than 6 1-3 innings since missing two weeks in late August because of a blood clot in his left shoulder.
“Tommy’s been looking better and better,” Randolph said. “That doesn’t mean it’s going to translate into two or three weeks from now, but I hope it does.”
Lastings Milledge and Tucker hit RBI singles in the eighth that sent the Marlins to their fourth straight loss. Florida dropped five games behind Los Angeles in the wild-card race.
For the Mets, it was merely a tuneup.
“It felt like one of those spring training games with a long bus ride where none of the regulars make the trip,” Glavine said.
Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 39th save. He’s been successful on 17 straight tries.
“With their so-called ‘B’ lineup, they’re still pretty good,” Marlins rookie pitcher Scott Olsen said.
Olsen shut down the Mets on five hits for seven innings and left with a 2-1 lead. But New York rallied in the eighth against Chris Resop (1-2) on a single by Anderson Hernandez, a walk to Endy Chavez and Milledge’s tying single.
After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Tucker greeted Matt Herges with a go-ahead single.
Marlins manager Joe Girardi was limited in his relief options. Closer Joe Borowski jammed his right elbow Monday night when he slipped off a bullpen bench.
“I didn’t think too much about it, but it felt kind of stiff this morning,” Borowski said. “I told (Girardi) if I had to pitch, I could. But I’d like to take a day.”
Other than Helms’ home run, Glavine was in control and allowed only two other runners to reach second base.
Hernandez, subbing for Mets leadoff man Jose Reyes, homered on Olsen’s first pitch in the third. The ball landed in the Marlins’ left-field bullpen, and Hernandez got hearty high-fives when he skipped back to the dugout after his first big league RBI.
The Mets have won 30 games by one run, most in the majors. … Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria made a one-handed snag of a foul ball that bounced into his front-row box. … 2B umpire Doug Eddings showed off a nice arm. When Florida C Miguel Olivo overthrew Olsen, Eddings retrieved the ball in shallow center field and pegged it to the mound. … The crowd was announced as 42,407, although it appeared be less than half that on a misty night.