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Glavine shaky in return, but Mets rally past Astros

HOUSTON (AP) -- Tom Glavine wasn't too disappointed that he
didn't get the win in his first start since being sidelined by a
blood clot.

What's important is that he's healthy. And besides, the New York
Mets still beat the Houston Astros 8-6 on Friday night thanks to
pinch-hitter Jose Valentin's RBI double that broke an eighth inning
tie.

"Right now my goals are simple, I just want to feel good and
come out of the game feeling good and that happened tonight so
that's good," Glavine said.

The game was tied at 6 when Valentin's hit to the corner in left
scored David Wright, who had three RBI. Endy Chavez followed with
an RBI-single to extend the lead.

The loss ended a season-high six-game winning streak for the
Astros, who are looking to make a push for the playoffs.

Glavine made his first appearance in more than two weeks after
being diagnosed with a blood clot in his pitching shoulder. He
remained stalled at 287 wins after leaving the game with the scored
tied 6-6.

Glavine threw 93 pitches, 52 for strikes and allowed seven hits
and six runs while striking out five.

But the National League-leading Mets should be encouraged by the
40-year-old two-time Cy Young winner's return to the mound as they
gear up for the playoffs, even if it was less than stellar.

He said he hasn't felt the coldness in his left ring finger that
led to his absence in almost a week.

"I'm very excited about Glavine tonight," manager Willie
Randolph said. "I said before the game, win or lose, it will be
good just to see him out there healthy."

He looked good early, retiring the first six batters before
giving up a single to lead off the third inning. He consistently
threw 85-87 mph fastballs and retired three more batters before
getting into trouble in the fourth.

He allowed four straight hits after striking out Willy Taveras
to lead off the inning. Jason Lane had an RBI-single after two
consecutive hits.

Morgan Ensberg's single to left field loaded the bases before
Glavine walked Chris Burke to make it 3-2. After a short meeting on
the mound with a coach and his catcher, Glavine remained in the
game only to allow a two-RBI single to Humberto Quintero two
pitches later. Quintero was making his first start of the season.

Burke scored on a wild pitch to finish out Houston's five-run
inning.

"It was a little bit of a relief to get out there I was anxious
to get back out there," Glavine said. "There's a little bit of
wanting to get back out there and clear your mind and make sure
everything is fine. Everything felt good...so hopefully I can just
get more and more comfortable as time goes by."

Guillermo Mota (1-0) got the win pitching a scoreless inning.
Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 33rd save in 38 chances. He
gave up an RBI single to Craig Biggio.

"We had a chance," Biggio said. "Wags has run off a bunch of
saves in the last month, and he's one of the elite closers in the
game. We gave ourselves a chance, but we came up short."

With New York trailing 5-3 in the fifth, Lane missed a long fly
by Wright after he tripped while backpedaling and bumped his head
into the right field wall, resulting in a three-run double.

Houston tied it at 6 when Taveras scored on a sacrifice fly by
Lane in the fifth.

In the second, Chavez had an RBI-single on a grounder to Adam
Everett. Everett, who hadn't committed an error in 53 straight
games, badly overthrew first baseman Lance Berkman to score Shawn
Green.

Carlos Delgado had an RBI-single that ricocheted off pitcher
Wandy Rodriguez and into center to give New York a 3-0 lead in the
third inning.

Astros fans apparently still haven't gotten over Carlos Beltran's decision to leave Houston in favor of signing with the
Mets in 2004. The rowdy crowd of 35,548 took every opportunity to
voice their distaste with him, heartily booing when he batted and
every time a ball came his way in center field. A handful of Mets
fans stood and cheered for him but they were easily drowned out by
the boos.

Houston starter Rodriguez allowed five hits and three runs in
four innings. Russ Springer (1-1) allowed two runs and three hits
with one strikeout in the eighth.

Game notes
Randolph said that Cliff Floyd, who is on the 15-day
disabled list with an Achilles' tendon injury, will join the team
in Houston on Saturday. ... Paul Lo Duca's double in the fifth
inning extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... With five
strikeouts on Friday, Glavine has 2,458 in his career, just three
behind Jim Kaat for 32nd on the all-time list.