Second Time Isn't a Charm: Mets Dropped 5-2

For the second time in less than a week, Tom Glavine was pounded by his former team. The Atlanta Braves brought out the heavy artillery, and hit four homeruns against their ex-team mate, on the way to a 5-2 victory at Shea Stadium on Friday evening. Greg Maddux (4-5) went only five innings, but the bullpen picked-up the pieces, posting four shutout innings. John Smoltz finished the game by striking out the final four batters, and recorded his 20th save of the season.

Gary Sheffield, who is having an MVP year, slammed his 14th long fly of the season in the first inning. Things for Glavine (5-5), would not get any better as the game progressed. Although the Mets came right back in their half of the first, and took a 2-1 lead against Maddux, Glavine couldn't hold the lead very long.

The Mets battered Maddux for five hits and scored their two runs on singles by Jeromy Burnitz and Ty Wigginton. But Glavine surrendered his advantage just as quickly, as Julio Franco homered in the second (his first of the year), and knotted the score at 2-2.

The homerun barrage against Tom continued…Mark Derosa hammered one over the right field wall with two outs in the third and Chipper Jones added another in the sixth. It was the first time in Glavine's career that he allowed four homeruns in a game.

After Maddux departed after throwing 83 pitches through five frames, the Atlanta bullpen took over. Darren Holmes and Ray King pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings. Glavine bowed out after seven innings, trailing 5-2. The Braves scored their fifth run in the seventh when Vinny Castilla doubled, moved to third on a single by Henry Blanco and scored on a sacrifice fly by Marcus Giles.

The highlight for the Mets took place in the eighth inning, when 42-year-old John Franco, absent from the baseball wars for almost a year and a half, came on and twirled a scoreless inning of relief. Having undergone Tommy John surgery last May, Franco actually arrived back at Shea ahead of schedule, just two games shy of 1000 appearances for his career.

Needless to say, it was a heart-stopping moment at Shea, as the crowd cheered and cheered in this triumph of the human spirit. It would have been a an immense undertaking for a much younger man, but at Franco's advanced baseball age, it's just shy of a miracle. Hopefully, his much younger team mates were taking notes.

The Mets made one last attempt to get back into the game in the bottom of the eighth. They put on a couple of runners against Atlanta set-up man Roberto Hernandez. With two outs, however, Braves manager Bobby Cox summoned Smoltz from the bullpen, and the Mets never had a chance. After striking out Tony Clark to end the eighth, the final three Mets also went down via the strikeout route against the Atlanta closer.

It's still very early in the season, but the Mets are digging themselves more and more of a hole. The injury-plagued team is already 13 full lengths behind the Bravos, with no hope is sight. Game two on Saturday will feature Jae Seo (1-2), one of the pleasant surprises for the Mets so far this season, going up against Ex-Met Mike Hampton (2-2), in what should be a very interesting contest. What the Mets need, it goes without saying, is a "W" against their old team mate in the worst way. It's hard to imagine, but are these Mets only playing for pride already, when it isn't even the 1st of June yet?

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