Opening Daze: Mets Get Shelled in Season Opener

The Mets had two goals today: win Opening Day and keep Sammy Sosa from hitting his 500th home run. They kept Sosa in the park, but failed miserably on the second goal, losing 15-2 and seeing their new ace, Tom Glavine, not even make it out of the fourth inning. Cliff Floyd, their big free agent acquisition, looked lost in the field and at the plate as well.

When Glavine was a Brave, the Mets knew that the first inning was his most vulnerable inning. That stayed true to form, as the Cubs jumped out to a 4-0 lead when the normally precise Glavine couldn't find the plate, walking Mark Grudzielanek, the leadoff hitter. He then fell behind on Alex Gonzalez, who made him pay by hitting a hard double to left. Sosa hit an opposite field single to score Grudzielanek. Moises Alou hit a ball off the left field wall for a triple to score Gonzalez and Sosa. Before Glavine and the Mets had blinked, the Cubs were up 3-0. Glavine struck out rookie Hee Seop Choi, but then promptly surrendered a single to Corey Patterson, scoring Alou and making it 4-0. He got out of the inning after that, but the damage was done.

The Mets got on the scoreboard in the second. Mo Vaughn singled to lead off the inning. In an unusual incident, Kerry Wood hit Wigginton with a pitch that ricocheted off him and hit home plate umpire John Hirschbeck in the head. After Hirschbeck cleared the cobwebs out of his head, Wigginton took first. Jeromy Burnitz, abandoning his 'home run or nothing' swing, hit a double to right to score Vaughn. Wigginton took third and subsequently scored to make it 4-2.

The Cubs added a run in the third to make it 5-2, and Glavine didn't make it out of the fourth, leaving with runners on first and second and two outs. Scott Strickland came in and got out of the inning after walking the bases loaded.

Strickland wasn't so lucky in the fifth, giving up a run-scoring infield single to Wood to make it 6-2.

Mike Bacsik came on in relief of Strickland and that's when the game officially got out of hand. Mark Bellhorn hit a sacrifice fly to score Sosa, who had walked to start off the inning and advanced to third on a single by Alou and a walk by Choi. Patterson, who had had a great day already, brightened it even more by hitting a three-run home run to make it 10-2. Bacsik gave up 5 more runs in the next inning, including Patterson's second home run of the game, a two-run shot.

The only consolation the Mets and their fans had was that their archrivals, the Atlanta Braves, got shelled in their home opener as well, losing 10-2.

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