Mets find oasis in desert

Mets Notes and Quotes for August 23: The Mets get off to a good start in the desert; maybe Mike Jacobs can hang around after all; Steve Trachsel could be in the bullpen Tuesday; in the minors, Binghamton's Aarom Baldiris hits a game-winning three-run homer in the 10th inning...

With 17 of the Mets' next 20 games away from Shea Stadium, the journeys at least got started on a positive note Monday.

Tom Glavine improved to 8-1 at Arizona's Bank One Ballpark with eight-plus innings, scattering five hits before handing a 4-1 lead off to closer Braden Looper in the ninth.

"There's something about this place I like," Glavine told reporters. "It just feels good here. I like the path from the mound to the plate. It gives you tunnel vision."

Cliff Floyd hit a two-run double in the first inning and both Jose Reyes and Victor Diaz hit solo home runs as the Mets – 64-60 overall - improved to 24-35 away from Flushing this year.

The 272nd win of Glavine's major league career also helped the southpaw get back to .500 on a personal note for the season at 10-10.

The Mets woke up on Tuesday morning 6.5 games behind Atlanta for the NL East, still mired in last place, but the team's best shot is the Wild Card. There, the Mets are just 2.5 games behind Houston with three other clubs to jump.

Mets Notes

Jacobs in the lineup: Mike Jacobs notched his first big league start Monday, getting the nod at first base as Mike DiFelice started behind the plate.

Jacobs went 0-for-4 at the plate, grounding into a double play in the sixth inning, but he showed a capable glove in the field. Jacobs came up with a skilled scoop on a David Wright throw in the second inning, saving an error after Wright had dove down the first base line to snag a hot Troy Glaus shot.

Randolph said Sunday that Jacobs would be the next player on the roster to be sent back to the minors, but the manager appears to have had a change of heart.

Now, Gerald Williams or Jose Offerman appear to be the alternatives, according to the New York Daily News; the newspaper also reported that relievers Heath Bell and Tim Hamulack made the trip from Norfolk to Phoenix, but only Bell was allowed to join the Mets – Hamulack, who would have become the bullpen's lone lefthander after Dae-Sung Koo's demotion, was sent back to Virginia.

No resolution for Trachsel: The Mets still aren't sure how to fit six starters into five slots, but they'll at least come closer to resolving the problem Tuesday when Steve Trachsel is activated from the disabled list.

Trachsel is headed to the bullpen, but just as window dressing. Last week at Shea Stadium, Trachsel said "it doesn't make any sense" for him to pitch as a reliever, considering the amount of time it takes for the right-hander to get loose.

Probably the only scenario the Mets could use Trachsel in relief would be a situation like Sunday's at Shea, when Kris Benson allowed six runs and eight hits while failing to escape the first inning.

Never mind: The Mets thought they'd signed 35-year-old catcher Alberto Castillo to a minor league contract on Sunday, releasing an announcement before the game. But Castillo – a Met from 1995 to 1998 - backed out, opting to sign with the Oakland Athletics.

Minor League Report

TRIPLE-A NORFOLK: RHP Yusmeiro Petit allowed three runs and eight hits in his Triple-A debut Monday, taking the loss as the Tides fell to Buffalo, 3-1. Petit walked three and struck out six in the effort; LF Chase Lambin hit his seventh homer in the second inning to account for Norfolk's scoring.

DOUBLE-A BINGHAMTON: Aarom Baldiris cracked a game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning Monday, lifting the B-Mets to a 6-3 win over Harrisburg. CF Lastings Milledge had four hits and two runs scored for Binghamton, while LF Wayne Lydon added two RBI. RHP Bryan Edwards threw seven innings in a no-decision start, allowing one earned run while striking out eight.

SINGLE-A ST. LUCIE: LF Dante Brinkley put an end to a marathon contest Monday, doubling in the winning run in the bottom of the 14th inning as St. Lucie edged Jupiter, 7-6. It was the third hit of the game for Brinkley, who also homered in the sixth inning; 3B Grant Psomas and RF Jamar Hill also had three hits for the Mets. RHP Dan Foli (5-2) threw the last three scoreless innings for his fifth win.

SINGLE-A HAGERSTOWN: C Jesus Flores hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning, helping lift the Suns to a 5-4 win over Asheville Monday. RHP Kevin Mannix started for Hagerstown and allowed three runs (one earned) in foiur innings; LHP Edgar Alfonzo (2-1) got the win with 1-2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

ROOKIE-LEAGUE KINGSPORT: The K-Mets were outslugged by Danville Monday, 13-9. CF Jose Mateo hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, his sixth, and SS Sean Henry added three hits, but it wasn't enough as Kingsport's pitching struggled. Jusef Frias started and allowed five runs in five innings, while reliever Dustin Childress (1-5) was tagged for five runs and six hits in 1-1/3 innings.

GULF COAST LEAGUE METS: 3B Jonathan Schemmel went 3-for-4 with two RBI as the GCL Mets edged the GCL Marlins Monday, 5-4. 1B Junior Contreras also had an RBI for the Mets, who got six innings of one-run (none earned) ball from starter Robert Manuel (8-1).

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