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Glavine pulled in debut for Mets

4/1/2003

NEW YORK (AP) -- Tom Glavine got off to a great start -- for all
of one pitch.

Glavine opened the season with a called strike, then completely
fell apart. Booed off the mound in the fourth inning, the Mets'
prized newcomer was long gone by the time Corey Patterson finished
with two home runs and seven RBIs Monday in the Chicago Cubs' 15-2
romp over the embarrassed New Yorkers.

It was the most-lopsided opener in the major leagues since the
Chicago White Sox beat up the St. Louis Browns 17-3 on April 17,
1951, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, baseball's
statistician.

"It certainly wasn't what I envisioned or hoped for,'' Glavine
said. "But I guess in the scheme of things, it was just one game
and I'll try not to read more into it than what it was, which was a
bad day for me and a bad day for us.''

Sammy Sosa stayed stuck at 499 career home runs, hitting an RBI
single and drawing three walks before leaving early. Everything
else went right for the Cubs in their highest-scoring opener since
1899.

"It was nice to be a part of,'' Sosa said. "We're going to
take it from here.''

New manager Dusty Baker saw ace Kerry Wood win with five
effective innings on a cold, blustery afternoon and watched Juan
Cruz tie a team record by striking out six straight batters in
relief.

"To me, it's a victory. It's No. 1, hopefully of many,'' Baker
said.

His Cubs hope to follow the same formula.

"Dusty's been telling us, 'You try to jump them early and try
to get them to quit,''' Patterson said.

For new Mets manager Art Howe, his debut was an utter disaster.
Glavine struggled, and New York's defense -- which led the majors in
errors last year in a last-place finish -- looked even worse. Mets
pitchers walked 12 and gave up 16 hits.

The sold-out stands at spruced-up Shea Stadium were half-full by
the middle innings, with fans sitting through a gametime
temperature of 39 degrees with winds at 20 mph. Yet that didn't
stop the bundled-up crowd from jeering when the Mets couldn't even
throw the ball around the infield without a mistake.

"We're not going to lose any sleep over that. It wasn't a
pretty game, but we can only get better,'' Howe said.

By the late innings, it had become a nonstop boo-fest. The lone
break came when fans chanted "Lenny! Lenny!'' as former Mets
pinch-hitter came to bat for the Cubs.

Overall, the Mets set a team record for runs allowed in an
opener. Not a good omen for them, considering they started the
afternoon with the best winning percentage on opening day -- .634 --
in major league history.

"Obviously, this team is fighting the stigma of what happened
last year and to come out and have things go the way they went
today, I'm sure there's going to be a certain amount of 'same old
Mets' or 'there were go again' and all that stuff,'' Glavine said.
"But you know what? It's one game.''

Glavine never found his rhythm, walking the leadoff man and
giving up four runs in the first inning. The two-time Cy Young
Award winner spent the past 16 years pitching for rival Atlanta,
but left to sign a $35 million, three-year contract with the Mets.

Patterson hit RBI singles in the first and third innings as the
Cubs took a 5-2 lead. He also made a nice catch on Mike Piazza's
deep drive to center field, and that was plenty as Wood limited the
Mets to two hits and two runs in his first Opening-Day start.

Patterson hit a three-run homer off Mike Bacsik in the sixth
that made it 10-2.

Bacsik walked the bases loaded in the seventh and Mark Bellhorn
lofted a high fly that center fielder Roger Cedeno lost in the
wind, with the ball dropping 30 feet behind him for a three-run
triple. Patterson followed with a two-run homer.

The Mets were charged with two errors, but the day was filled
with misplays and misadventures. Gold Glove second baseman Roberto
Alomar skipped a nonchalant throw on a routine grounder, right
fielder Jeromy Burnitz stumbled toward the wall on Patterson's
first homer and no one covered second base on an early hit.

Game notes
Piazza's hearing on his appeal of a five-game suspension was heard shortly after the final out. The All-Star catcher was
penalized in spring training for charging Dodgers pitcher Guillermo
Mota and later going into the locker room looking for him. Piazza
and the Mets hope to get a decision Tuesday. ...Patterson had his second multihomer game. The other came in Colorado last season. ... The Mets fell to 26-16 in openers. The Cubs are 70-56-2 in their 128 openers. ... Glavine fell to 2-3 in
Opening-Day starts.