<
>

Glavine first nine-game winner; Milledge drives in three

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- By his own admission, Tom Glavine wasn't very
good in his quest to become baseball's first nine-game winner.

Thanks to the New York Mets' offense, he was good enough.

Glavine pitched 5 1-3 shaky innings in his shortest and least
effective outing of the season and Carlos Beltran and David Wright
each had three hits for the Mets in a 9-7 victory over the Los
Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.

Rookie Lastings Milledge tripled and homered, drove in three
runs and made a key defensive play for the Mets, who won two of
three in the series and are 13-5 with two ties in their 20 series
this season.

Glavine (9-2) allowed seven hits and six runs before being
relieved by Chad Bradford with one on and one out in the sixth and
the Mets leading 7-6.

"It wasn't pretty, but I'll take it," the 40-year-old
left-hander said. "You've got to win games like that once in a
while. Tonight was one of those games I didn't deserve to win, but
I did. I've certainly had my share of games I didn't deserve to
lose, but I did. They all even out -- at least you hope they do."

Glavine walked three, struck out one and gave up three homers --
two by Rafael Furcal. But he earned his 284th career victory,
moving him into a tie for 26th on baseball's all-time list.

Glavine, lifted after 93 pitches, gave up a total of 23 earned
runs in his first 12 starts. He started on three days' rest for the
25th time in his career and the first since Aug. 19, 2003. He was
7-6 with a 3.29 ERA in such situations.

"I felt too good," he said. "This is what I would have
anticipated I would have felt last time, and I had seven days
off."

The Mets remained 3½ games ahead of second-place Philadelphia in
the NL East, while the Dodgers trail NL West-leading Arizona by 1½
games.

Milledge hit a two-out, two-run homer off Jae Seo in the seventh
to give the Mets a 9-6 lead. Then, Nomar Garciaparra hit a liner
down the left field line to open the eighth against Duaner Sanchez,
but was thrown out by Milledge trying to stretch the hit into a
double.

Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier hit a two-out, RBI double later in the
inning before Sanchez struck out pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz to end
the inning.

Billy Wagner, the Mets' fifth pitcher, worked a 1-2-3 ninth for
his 12th save.

"You don't know how a young guy is going to do," Mets manager
Willie Randolph said of the 21-year-old Milledge, who was playing
in his eighth big league game. "It's nice to see the kid help us
out. Big, tremendous home run; a great throw. He's making a nice
case for himself."

Milledge was brought up from the minors last week when Xavier
Nady underwent an appendectomy.

The Mets took a 4-0 lead off Odalis Perez (4-2) in the first
inning on five straight two-out hits. Beltran and Wright singled
and, after a double steal, scored on a single by Julio Franco. Jose
Valentin followed with an RBI double and scored on Milledge's first
career triple.

Furcal hit Glavine's third pitch over the left field fence in
the bottom of the inning for the 13th leadoff homer of his career.

Beltran hit an RBI single in the second, but the Dodgers tied
the game in their half on an RBI single by rookie Russell Martin
and a two-out, three-run homer by Furcal, his fourth of the season.

The Mets scored twice and chased Perez in the fourth on
consecutive two-out singles by Chris Woodward, Paul Lo Duca,
Beltran and Wright. Jose Cruz Jr. hit Glavine's second pitch in the
bottom of the inning for his fourth homer to draw the Dodgers
within one.

Perez, making first start since May 2, allowed seven runs and 11
hits in 3 2-3 innings. Nine of the hits came with two outs.

"I don't think there is any mechanical problem. No way," Perez
said. "I felt good tonight and I threw the ball the way I was
supposed to throw it. They scored seven runs off me, but at the
same time, you saw how many broken-bat bloopers they hit off me."

Dodgers manager Grady Little said Perez wouldn't be removed from
the rotation again -- at least for now.

"The first three hits of the game all came on shattered bats,
and there's nothing in the world you can do about that," Little
said. "After that, they hit a couple of balls good."

Game notes
Dodgers OF J.D. Drew didn't start because of tightness in
his right hamstring. He walked as a pinch hitter in the eighth and
scored on Ethier's double. ... The Mets played without SS Jose
Reyes (sore right wrist) and LF Cliff Floyd (sprained left ankle).
Both are day to day. ... Dodgers rookie Willy Aybar singled in the
seventh to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Garciaparra had
two hits to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Franco made
his third start of the season, giving 1B Carlos Delgado a rest, and
went 1-for-5. The 47-year-old Franco is the oldest player in the
majors.