05/09/2002 00:28 am ET
Rueter's 100th is first over Mets
Lefty tops buddy Estes in 8-2 victory
By Patrick Mulrenin / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- San Francisco Giants pitcher Kirk Rueter achieved three major milestones as a result of his 8-2 victory Wednesday over the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.
Rueter limited the Mets to two runs on five hits and one walk over 7 2/3 innings pitched, and the Giants' offense was sparked by strong performances from Jeff Kent and J.T. Snow, who had two hits and a home run apiece. Of Rueter's three milestones, two are of the statistical variety and the other is personal.
First, Rueter notched career victory No. 100. Since joining the Giants in 1996 after four seasons in Montreal, Rueter is 75-49 in 173 starts. He reached the century mark in wins in his 234th career appearance.
"It's good to get 100," Rueter said. "I've played on some pretty good teams and had pretty good bullpens because I don't finish many games [four complete games total]. This goes to all of my teammates because I've played on great teams in San Francisco and Montreal."
Although most people may not know it, Rueter has the second-highest winning percentage on the road among all active pitchers. At 54-26 (.675), Rueter ranks only behind Boston's Pedro Martinez, who is 70-27 (.722). This season, Rueter is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts away from home, but he would not trade a perfect record to be away from his family.
"I feel comfortable at home with my wife and daughter," said Rueter when asked if he is more comfortable pitching away from Pacific Bell Park. "That's where I feel the most comfortable. I don't know what it is on the road. I don't really like leaving them, so I know I don't feel more comfortable [on the road than at home.] It's one of those things where I've thrown good on the road so far."
For the second milestone, Rueter finally defeated the Mets for the first time in his career. He entered the game with an 0-5 record and a 6.17 ERA in 12 career starts against New York. The Mets were the only team in the National League that Rueter had not defeated in his eight-year career.
"I never got a win against them," Rueter said. "I've thrown some good games against them and not gotten wins. I've also thrown some horrible games against them, too. It's good to beat them for the first time because they've pounded me a lot in the past."
With Rueter's victory at Shea, the Giants took their first three-game series in New York since 1997 and lengthened the team's win streak to six games, tying a season high. Rueter had been 0-1 with a 4.87 ERA in four career starts in New York prior to Wednesday night.
For the final milestone, Rueter defeated his former teammate, Shawn Estes, who was traded to New York in December after six seasons in San Francisco. Estes, who was swapped for outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo and infielder Desi Relaford, was more than just a teammate to Rueter. He is one of his closest friends.
The two left-handers had lockers right next to one another in the Giants' clubhouse. They've spent time with one another over the last five years and enjoy hanging out together. Rueter was not exactly filled with joy over beating his friend.
"I wasn't looking forward to it," Rueter said. "I talked to my wife and I know that she wasn't looking forward to it. It's tough. He's one of my best friends in baseball. I'm just glad that it is over with. Hopefully, maybe the next four or five years I won't have to face him. It's not that easy."
Estes, who allowed four runs on six hits and four walks over five innings pitched, said that he would like to face his former team again but not necessarily square off against his friend for a second time.
"I'd like to turn back the clock and do it [tonight] again," Estes said. "Hopefully I'll have the chance to face them again in San Francisco. I'd definitely say I was glad it's over if we won the game.
"As good as Rueter is pitching, I didn't give our team a chance to win."
Estes and Rueter dueled through four innings, with the Giants holding a 1-0 lead. In the fifth, the hinges came undone for Estes as he allowed his former team to score three runs after getting the first two outs of the inning.
A 4-0 lead was more than enough for Rueter as he stymied one Met batter after another. He ran into trouble in the eighth inning, allowing two runs, but Chad Zerbe closed out the game to give Rueter the victory.
"I've thrown good over stretches, but this is the best I've ever started the season," Rueter
said. "I'm usually a bad April pitcher and it takes me a month, month and a half to get all of
my control and all of my pitches down. For some reason, this year, I felt good in Spring
Training and carried it over into the regular season."
Patrick Mulrenin is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.