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Glavine gives Mets major lift, commanding lead over Dodgers

Oct 6, 2006 - 3:20 AM FLUSHING, New York (Ticker) -- The New York Mets may have serious health issues with their starting rotation, but all is well with Tom Glavine.

Glavine pitched six scoreless innings to combine with three relievers on a five-hitter and Jose Reyes drove in a pair of runs as the Mets defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-1, to take a two-games-to-none lead in their National League Division Series.

The Mets will try to complete a sweep when the best-of-five series resumes Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

New York already is without ace righthander Pedro Martinez, who underwent rotator cuff surgery on Thursday morning and will be lost until at least next summer. To make matters worse, Orlando Hernandez, originally scheduled to replace Martinez in Game One, suffered a calf injury Tuesday that likely will sideline him for the playoffs.

"The guys on the staff are taking it as a challenge," Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca said. "Maybe it's a blessing in disguise because other guys know they have to step up."

New York got 4 1/3 effective innings from rookie John Maine and used a host of relievers to win Wednesday's series opener, 6-5. On Thursday, the Mets turned to the 40-year-old Glavine (1-0), who had a health scare of his own this summer when a circulatory problem proved not to be serious.

"I was worried about not being able to take part in this," Glavine said. "This is what I wanted to be a part of. The situation is controllable and I've been able to come back from it. So it was fun to get out there."

The two-time Cy Young Award winner allowed just four hits with two walks and two strikeouts, working out of jams in the fourth and fifth. It was the first postseason appearance for Glavine since 2002 when he was with the Atlanta Braves.

"Tommy stepped up for us again big time," Mets manager Willie Randolph said.

Pedro Feliciano pitched the seventh, Aaron Heilman allowed a home run to Wilson Betemit in the eighth and Billy Wagner worked a perfect ninth for his second save of the playoffs.

Betemit was a replacement for first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, who left the game in the sixth after aggravating a quadriceps injury.

"I tried to push it," Garciaparra said. "I don't give percentages on whether I'll be able to play (Saturday). We'll wait and see."

Jeff Kent had a pair of hits for the Dodgers, who have just one postseason victory since winning the 1988 World Series.

"The guy we're facing really showed us why he's getting ready to win 300 games," Dodgers manager Grady Little said.

Glavine actually has 290 career regular-season wins, which is 289 more than his opponent on Thursday.

Little elected to bypass future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux and start rookie Hong-Chih Kuo, partly because of the Mets' recent struggles against lefthanders. Over the final two months of the regular season, New York was just 7-15 in games against southpaw starters.

"Today my fastball wasn't as good," Kuo admitted. "I just went out and tried to do the best I could."

Kuo (0-1) pitched six scoreless innings against the Mets in his first major league start last month, but the 25-year-old lefthander lasted 4 1/3 innings Thursday and was charged with two runs and four hits.

The Mets manufactured runs off Kuo in the third and fifth.

Endy Chavez reached on an infield single in the third, advanced on a wild pitch and a grounder by Glavine and came home on a groundout by Reyes.

"We can win guys a lot of different ways," Reyes said. "Sometimes we do it with power. Sometimes we do it the way we did today."

Jose Valentin walked and Chavez singled in the fifth before both runners moved up on a sacrifice by Glavine. Reyes was walked intentionally to chase Kuo and Lo Duca greeted Brett Tomko with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

A throwing error by Tomko helped the Mets load the bases with one out in the sixth. Pinch hitter Julio Franco beat out a potential double-play grounder off Mark Hendrickson to bring home a run and Reyes added an RBI single to increase the lead to 4-0.






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