NEW YORK (AP) -- Tom Glavine knows exactly what he wants to do in
his last tuneup for the postseason. He just doesn't know when he's
going to get that final start.
Glavine had some uncharacteristic control problems Monday night
and the New York Mets lost to Washington 7-3 in their final home
game of the regular season.
"I just want to have better command than I did tonight," he
said. "There isn't a whole lot more to work on."
The NL East champions finished 50-31 at Shea Stadium, losing
five of their last six. They return home next week for Game 1 of
Glavine (14-7) gave up eight hits and four runs -- three earned --
in six innings. It was his first loss since Aug. 16 and the most
hits he has allowed since he surrendered 10 in four innings at
Atlanta on July 30.
He is slated to make his final start of the regular season on
Saturday at Washington, but manager Willie Randolph said before the
game that will depend on how the rest of the staff does this week.
"If something changes, then I'll adjust accordingly," Glavine
said. "I certainly wouldn't want to go into the first game of the
playoffs on two or three days' rest.
"On the other hand, I wouldn't want this to be my last start
and have eight days' rest."
The Mets were encouraged by the return of center fielder Carlos Beltran, who missed the previous six games with a strained
quadriceps. He walked three times and grounded out.
"I couldn't ask for much better than what he did out there,"
Washington manager Frank Robinson said. "I like what I see with
this young man and he's got a good idea about what to do, how to do
it and what his strengths and weaknesses are."
Brian Schneider tied a career high with four hits and Jose Vidro
went 3-for-3. Washington won three of four for the franchise's
first series victory in a four-game set at Shea since the Montreal
Expos did it Sept. 18-21, 2003.
Perez (2-0) walked six and retired the side in order only once
but managed to limit New York to two runs and four hits in 6 1/3
innings. He got his first major league win last Tuesday night,
allowing one hit in six shutout innings against Atlanta.
"I just tried to stay on top of the ball, keep the ball down so
I would be effective," Perez said through a translator.
Cliff Floyd's RBI groundout in the third cut Washington's lead
to 3-2, but Perez struck out Shawn Green with a runner on second for
the final out. David Wright grounded into an inning-ending double
play with two runners on in the fifth.
Green led off the second inning with a home run to put the Mets
in front 1-0. Jose Valentin walked with one out and moved to second
on Glavine's sacrifice, but Nook Logan made a terrific leaping
catch against the wall in center to take a hit away from Jose Reyes.
"What I liked about him was his composure out there on the
mound," Robinson said of Perez. "Even after the home run, he came
right back and got the next hitter out."
The Nationals rallied in the third, helped by some
uncharacteristic wildness by Glavine. Felipe Lopez and Alfonso Soriano walked to load the bases with one out, and Zimmerman
doubled into right-center field to give Washington a 3-1 lead.
"Command is an issue," Randolph said. "Balls and strikes were
almost even. Tom's a control guy, we know that. Control was an
issue, but sometimes it escapes you, and that's what happened to him
Glavine threw 57 of his 107 pitches for strikes and fell to 8-3
with a 2.88 ERA in 15 starts at home this season.
"I had good stuff, but I had trouble locating when I wanted
to," he said.
Vidro walked after Zimmerman's hit, and Glavine then got some
help from Lo Duca, who threw out a runner trying to steal third for
the second consecutive inning. Schneider tried it in the second, and
Zimmerman was caught the next inning.
Glavine, who was 2-0 in his previous four starts, fanned
Schneider for the final out of the third.
Nationals 1B Nick Johnson, who broke his right leg in a
gruesome collision with right fielder Austin Kearns on Saturday,
was expected to remain in the hospital overnight Monday while the
rest of the team made the trip back to Washington. The Nationals
said Johnson had medical clearance to travel, but they were
concerned about his comfort. Johnson could travel back to
Washington in the next couple of days. ... Nationals pitching coach
Randy St. Claire (pneumonia) was out of the hospital but stayed at
the team hotel during the game. He was expected to travel back to
Washington with the team. ... The Nationals completed their road
schedule with a 29-52 record.