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Braves Bash Mets, Gain Split

Tom Glavine restored order to a wild weekend at Shea Stadium, keeping John Rocker in the bullpen and the Braves in first place.

Glavine shut New York down for seven innings to win his first game in six weeks, and Javy Lopez homered twice as Atlanta gained a split of the four-game series with a 10-2 win over the New York Mets on Sunday.

"We're in the same position today as when we came in," Glavine said. "If we had lost, we would have been tied. Now, we're two games up. From that standpoint, these are big games. It's still too early to get too excited. A lot of things could change before we play again."

A lot happened this weekend.

The series featured a tense opening game which the Braves won thanks to Rocker's perfect inning of relief, a dramatic 10-run eighth inning by the Mets in the second game, and Greg Maddux's shortest start in four seasons on Saturday.

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  • Glavine and Lopez made sure there was no such excitement in the finale, as Atlanta jumped out to a 7-0 lead after five innings to move two games in front of the Mets in the NL East.

    "We could have rolled over after losing those two games," Atlanta's Brian Jordan said. "Instead we came out and played hard. We're happy with the split."

    With a big lead, there was no need for manager Bobby Cox to call on Rocker, who was unavailable the last two games after splitting open a callous on his left thumb Friday. He warmed up in the ninth inning Sunday, but wasn't needed.

    "I ould have pitched," he said. "I was ready to pitch but they didn't need me. I think in the long run they do need me. I'm glad it's over."

    The despised reliever whose presence this weekend brought about 700 police officers and a media circus to Shea Stadium made a brief appearance on the field by warming up left fielder Reggie Sanders before the eighth inning.

    Braves pitcher Tom Glavine led Atlanta to a 10-2 win Sunday, salvaging a series split with the Mets. (CBS SportsLine)
  • Braves’ Tom Glavine
  • Braves’ Brian Jordan
  • Mets’ Mike Piazza
  • The crowd of 45,261 booed as Rocker played catch with police protection. He then tossed the ball into the stands and walked back to the bullpen and sat down under Rocker's Roof the specially constructed awning to protect him.

    A fan threw Rocker's ball back on the field, drawing cheers from the Mets fans that the reliever insulted last year and apologized to on Thursday.

    "In the back of my mind, I thought something might happen," Jordan said. "New York did a great job with security and the fans were really studious. They love their Mets and they showed it."

    Mike Piazza homered for the third straight game, hitting a solo shot in the Mets seventh to give him an RBI in 15 straight games two behind the major league record. He also has a 20-game hitting streak.

    There wasn't much else for Mets fans to get excited about.

    Lopez hit a solo homers in the third and ninth inning and added an RBI single in the fifth for Atlanta. It was his 11th career multihomer game and first this season.

    The Mets, who had won nine of 10 games, have not beaten the Braves in a series since September 1998 a span of seven series, including last year's NLCS. Atlanta has won 25 of the last 35 games between the teams.

    "I don't think anything was lost this weekend," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "We came in with a pretty hot streak knowing that streak would come to an end. We went 2-2. That's pretty good."

    Glavine (8-5), who had lost four straight decisions since beating San Diego on May 21, was efficient and silenced the crowd for six innings. He kept the Mets off-balance with his tantalizing changeup and pitched ahead in the count.

    The left-hander allowed bck-to-back homers to Piazza and Todd Zeile with one out in the seventh but got out of the inning without further damage and was replaced by Jason Marquis.

    "The difference was that Glavine did a better job holding us down," Zeile said. "He's a quality pitcher and a big-game pitcher. He knew this was a big game."

    The Braves did most of their damage early, as every starter had a hit off Glendon Rusch (6-6) by the fifth inning. Atlanta jumped ahead with a four-run second, breaking a stretch in which the Mets outscored them 19-1 since the bottom of the eighth Friday.

    Andres Galarraga led off with a single, went to third on Sanders' double that right fielder Derek Bell nearly made a spectacular diving catch on. A sacrifice fly by Walt Weiss and an RBI single by Keith Lockhart, playing for the sick Chipper Jones, made it 2-0. Glavine then singled and Quilvio Veras capped the inning with a two-run double.


  • Rusch, who had won five of six decisions, allowed seven runs and 13 hits in five-plus innings.
  • Jones missed the game with flu-like symptoms, and SS Rafael Furcal sat out with a strained right hamstring.
  • Mets OF Jay Payton missed the game with a sore left wrist.
  • Ray Grimes of the Cubs drove in runs in 17 straight games in 1922.
  • Piazza has 24 homers and 71 RBIs on the season.
  • Glavine had been 0-4 with a 4.79 ERA in his last seven starts.

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