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Piazza homers as Mets clinch .500 season

NEW YORK (AP) -- At age 39 and in his 18th full season in the
major leagues, Tom Glavine proved there's always something to be
learned in baseball.

Glavine reinvented himself midway through the year, adding a
cutter and a curveball to his repertoire and he showed them off
Thursday night with a two-hitter, pitching the New York Mets to an
11-0 romp over the Colorado Rockies.

The Mets made it easy for Glavine with a 15-hit attack that
included four home runs. David Wright hit two and reached 100 RBI
for the season, while Mike Piazza started what almost certainly is
his final series as a Met with the 397th of his career.

But this was a night that belonged to Glavine. Mixing speeds and
never topping 86 mph with his fastball, he posted the 275th victory
and 24th shutout of his career.

"He was outstanding," said Willie Randolph, whose team won its
81st game, clinching a .500 finish in his first year as manager.
"He's a pro. It was good to see him look like the Tom Glavine we
all know and love. It goes to show what kind of pitcher he is. He
did a great job."

Nobody was happier about it than Glavine (13-13).

"It's satisfying, obviously, in the short term," he said. "I
had a much better season than the first six weeks indicated. I had
a game plan that should enable me to pitch beyond next year. The
changes excite me. I'm more excited about where I am as a pitcher
now."

It showed as he struck out 11 and walked two. The last time he
had 11 strikeouts in a game was May 13, 1994, pitching for Atlanta
against the Mets at Shea Stadium. It was the 55th complete game of
his career.

Colorado manager Clint Hurdle was suitably impressed.

"Obviously, it was a very good way for him to close out his
season," Hurdle said. "He can make a lineup look vulnerable when
he's on top of his game like that. He's a special pitcher."

Piazza, whose contract runs out at the end of the season,
connected in the fifth inning against Sunny Kim (6-3) after Wright
hit the first of his two homers. Piazza's 19th homer soared an
estimated 450 feet to the back of the bleachers in left field.

The 37-year-old catcher was given a standing ovation on every
at-bat from the sparse Shea Stadium crowd and responded to their
cheers after the homer with a curtain call.

The fans chanted "One More Year!" when he batted later in the
game.

"It's good," he said. "I'm excited. I'm glad they feel that
way. It's nice to know you're wanted."

The Mets gave Glavine an early lead scoring four in the fourth.

Cliff Floyd opened the fourth for New York with a double off the
wall in right, just missing a home run. He moved to third on an
infield out and scored when Kim's fourth ball in a walk to Piazza
was a wild pitch. Mike Jacobs and Miguel Cairo followed with
singles, loading the bases.

Piazza scored on an infield out and Jose Ryes followed with an
RBI single. Marlon Anderson followed with an apparent two-run
single, but Reyes ran out of the baseline trying to score and was
called out by home plate umpire Bill Hohn, ending the inning with
New York ahead 4-0.

In the fifth, Floyd walked and Wright followed with his 25th
homer to make it 6-0. Piazza followed with the 397th homer of his
career, giving him 44th place on the all-time list, one behind Dale
Murphy.

Wright's second homer was a solo shot in the seventh and Jacobs
also homered in that inning.

"It's not about individual goals," Wright said. "There's
always room to get better. It's tough to put numbers on goals You
always try to improve."

After retiring the first six batters, Glavine got in trouble in
the third when he walked Dustan Mohr leading off and Choo Freeman
followed with a single. But Kim struck out bunting and Glavine
retired the next two hitters.

In the seventh, Matt Holliday singled and Ryan Shealy reached on
an error by third baseman Wright, but Glavine struck out Mohr and
J.D. Closser to end the inning.

Game notes
Glavine was making the 601st start of his career, third
most among active pitchers behind Roger Clemens (670) and Greg
Maddux (638). ... The Mets need a split in the four-game series to
clinch their first winning season since 2001. ... When Reyes struck
out in the sixth, it was his 683rd at-bat of the season, setting a
Mets club record. ... Wright became the first Met to reach 100 RBI
since Piazza in 2000. ... Wright has three multihomer games this
season and four in his career.