CHICAGO - Tom Glavine knows exactly why his 300th win should be savored.
“If I was the last one, I guess it would be pretty cool to be the last one to do something in the game,” he said Sunday night after leading the New York Mets over the Chicago Cubs 8-3.
It was vintage Glavine, mixing pitches and fooling hitters, all the things that over the years made him one of baseball’s best pitchers. With nervous family and friends looking on, Glavine left with a five-run lead after 6 1-3 innings, and New York’s bullpen held on.
“It wasn’t a dazzling performance in terms of striking people out. It was an exercise in hitting my spots and changing speeds and letting the guys behind me do their work,” he said, a look of relief on his face.
Glavine (10-6) became the first 300-game winner since former Atlanta teammate Greg Maddux reached the milestone in 2004 while with the Cubs.
“I think the feeling right now is probably relief,” Glavine said. “At some point in time, I don’t know when, the historic side of it will sink in. I know the company I’m in, and I’m as proud as can be to be in that company.”
The club might be closed.
Randy Johnson has 284 wins but back problems have plagued him and he turns 44 in September.
“I’m not saying I want to be the last one,” Glavine said. “I would love for someone to have this feeling and this sense of accomplishment.”
The 41-year-old Glavine, only the fifth lefty to win 300, capped a momentous weekend in baseball. On Saturday, Barry Bonds hit his 755th homer to tie Hank Aaron’s career mark and Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player to reach 500 homers. Glavine said he spoke with baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who also spoke with A-Rod but didn’t get in contact with Bonds.
In his first try for No. 300, Glavine left with a one-run lead at Milwaukee only to watch his bullpen blow it. Wife Christine Glavine, who had slumped in her seat at Miller Park, wiped tears from her eyes as Billy Wagner retired Mike Fontenot on a grounder for the final out at Wrigley Field.
Glavine, who watched from the dugout, came out in a warmup jacket and exchanged hugs and slaps with teammates. He then hugged his children and his wife, giving her a kiss, received congratulations from his parents and waved to the crowd.
“It’s over with now,” he said after his hugging his youngest son.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
“I was more nervous the first time,” Christine Glavine said. “I felt pretty calm today. He was actually more nervous. I felt like what you’re supposed to do as a wife and you just say, ‘You know what, go out there and you do what you’ve done for 20 years and who gives a damn if somebody has to fly to some other city.”’
Her face showed her anxiety when Chicago closed to 5-3. Then the Mets pulled away.
Carlos Delgado backed Glavine with four RBIs, and Luis Castillo had four of New York’s 16 hits.
Coming off a night of little sleep because two of his children were sick, Glavine felt drained early and put a towel soaked with ammonia on his head when he came off the field during the early innings.
“I think I put a little bit more pressure on myself tonight to go out and try to get it done. Once I got to the ballpark I seemed to calm down a little bit, but all day at the hotel I was nervous about it and uptight about it,” he said.
Glavine appreciated the warm reception he received at Wrigley Field. Mets fans chanted his name after the game “Tom-mee Glavine!” as he met his family.
“It was pretty special moment to be able to hug all those guys on Wrigley Field like I did tonight,” he said. “There’s no way I could express my gratitude for everything they’ve done.”
Before a crowd of 41,599 on a muggy night, and with flashbulbs popping all over the old neighborhood park, Glavine allowed two runs and six hits, struck out one and walked one.
He left after Angel Pagan doubled on his 102nd pitch, getting a high five from manager Willie Randolph on the mound and a standing ovation as he left the field.
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