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Glavine leads Braves to win over Mets

ATLANTA - Tom Glavine just didn't feel right while warming up in the bullpen, and he still was struggling to control his pitches in the first inning.

No, this wasn't just another game for the 42-year-old left-hander.

Glavine calmed down after a very shaky start against his former team, retiring his last 17 batters to lead the Atlanta Braves past the New York Mets 6-1 in the opener of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday.

""Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would go 17 up, 17 down after that first inning,' said Glavine, who spent the previous five seasons with the Mets before re-signing with his original team over the winter. ""There was no reason to expect that.'

Indeed, Glavine (2-1) looked as though he might not make it out of the first.

On the sixth pitch of the game, Luis Castillo lofted a fly ball that barely cleared the wall in left for his first homer of the season. The Mets then loaded the bases with one out on singles by David Wright and Ryan Church, sandwiched around a walk to Carlos Beltran.

But Moises Alou hit a hard liner right at third baseman Chipper Jones, and right fielder Jeff Francoeur hauled in a fly ball to deep right by slumping Carlos Delgado to get the Braves out the inning trailing just 1-0.

After that, Glavine was unhittable. The Mets went three-up, three-down over the next five innings before the starter, bothered a bit by a sore right knee, turned it over to the bullpen.

New York didn't have another runner until Jose Reyes singled off Blaine Boyer with two outs in the eighth. The Mets, coming off a two-game sweep of the Yankees, managed just six hits.

Glavine conceded it was a little different to face the Mets than any other team.

""I probably had a little too much adrenaline,' he said. ""I had to fight that a little bit. Once I got over that, I was able to make my pitches.'

Brian McCann homered and drove in three runs for the Braves, who improved the NL's best home record to 17-5. They are 6-16 away from Turner Field.

The doubleheader was scheduled after the teams were rained out April 4. In the night game, Jorge Campillo was set to make his first start since 2005, with New York starting Claudio Vargas.

The Braves are used to seeing Glavine struggle in the first, and they're never surprised when he turns it around.

""He's that type of pitcher,' McCann said. ""Once he settles down and gets a feel for what the hitters are doing, then he comes up with a game plan. He adapts to what they're doing.'

The Braves handed John Maine (5-3) his first loss in nearly a month. The right-hander had won four straight starts but was knocked around in this one, giving up four runs and eight hits in four-plus innings.

""I got the ball up in the zone,' Maine said. ""I didn't get a lot of swings and misses.'

The Mets were kicked themselves for letting Glavine get in a groove.

""We let him off the hook early,' manager Willie Randolph said. ""You let quality pitchers off the hook, it's hard to come back.'

Glavine's performance was especially satisfying in light of how he finished 2007 with the Mets, getting rocked on the final day of the regular season to complete New York's historic collapse in the NL East race.

""You're always trying to prove people wrong,' he said. ""There were a lot of naysayers about me coming to pitch with the way I finished last season. I still think I can pitch. That's the most important thing.'

He'll get no argument from his former teammates.

""As the game went on, he threw more offspeed stuff,' Delgado said. ""He threw more changeups. He was challenging guys a little bit more. He's a smart guy.'

Mark Teixeira tied it in the bottom half of the first with a two-out, run-scoring single. McCann put the Braves ahead to stay with another two-out single in the second, driving in Chipper Jones.

Yunel Escobar's fourth-inning sacrifice fly made it 3-1, and the Braves finished off Maine in the fifth. Jones led off with a walk and Teixeira followed with his third single of the game, prompting Mets manager Willie Randolph to go to the bullpen. Jones came around to score his second run on Kelly Johnson's sacrifice fly against Scott Schoeneweis.

McCann clinched it in the seventh against Aaron Heilman. Teixeira led off with a walk and McCann drove a 3-2 pitch over the center-field wall for his eighth homer.

Notes: Jones went 1-for-4, dropping his average to .406. ... Delgado shows little sign of escaping his season-long slump. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and was hitting just .224. ... Will Ohman, Boyer and Manny Acosta finished for the Braves, whose relievers had thrown 19 straight scoreless innings.