Memorable reunion for Smoltz, Glavine
Braves righty outduels Mets lefty as former teammates clash
ATLANTA -- Neither John Smoltz nor Tom Glavine was as sharp as in their only other matchup. Of course, the wind chill wasn't in the 30s for that July game at Shea Stadium in 2005.
"I would have just as soon battled him in 90 degree weather," said Smoltz, who wore two shirts under his jersey Saturday.
The longtime friends and former teammates -- to say nothing of likely Hall of Famers -- matched each other through five frigid innings at Turner Field.
Then came the sixth.
Smoltz made the pitches when he needed to, just like he has on so many occasions. Glavine, getting no help from his defense, couldn't pull it off this time.
The Braves scored three times in the sixth inning, with two of the runs unearned, and went on to hand the Mets their first loss of the season, 5-3.
Asked if he enjoyed facing his teammate of 14 seasons, Glavine said, "A little bit, but not much."
Smoltz is 2-0 against Glavine, who remains at 291 career victories. The right-hander, who has 194 wins to go with 154 saves, wasn't ready to gloat at Glavine's expense, however.
"The bragging rights are reserved for who wins the division and gets to go on to the World Series," Smoltz said. "I'm sure he feels pretty good about their chances."
The Mets ended the Braves' string of division titles at 14 last season and are the National League East favorites again this year. But the rivals are each 4-1 going into the finale of their three-game series Sunday.
"The matchup was as advertised," Braves manager Bobby Cox said of the Smoltz-Glavine pairing.
At least it was until the bottom of the sixth inning.
Smoltz struck out Paul Lo Duca, who had homered in the first, to end the top of the sixth with two runners on, as the Mets stranded 10 against him.
Glavine, meanwhile, had allowed just two hits and one earned run going into the bottom of the sixth. But he gave up a double to Andruw Jones and a single to Jeff Francoeur before an error by right fielder Shawn Green aided the Braves' breakthrough rally.
"It was a tough day all around," Glavine said. "Those conditions are not easy to play in for anyone."
Smoltz's strikeout of Lo Duca, though, was as much a turning point in the game as Green's error.
Said Cox of Smoltz: "He made his strikeouts count, especially that one. It was huge. [Lo Duca] is a hard guy to strike out."
"Those were hard sliders, about as hard as I could throw them," said Smoltz, who was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning. "[Lo Duca] gives me fits."
Smoltz's fourth strikeout of the game came on his 118th pitch. Glavine threw 113 in 5 1/3 innings.
"For the most part, I struggled with consistency," said Glavine, who gave up a homer to Matt Diaz in the second inning. "It was tough holding onto the ball, feeling comfortable with my grip."
The real interplay between Smoltz and Glavine came when they pitched to each other.
Glavine came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning, popping up in foul territory to third baseman Chipper Jones.
"I didn't want to face him [there]," Smoltz said. "That would have been rest-of-your-life smack talk."
Glavine, meanwhile, gave Smoltz a painful at-bat.
"He broke my hand," Smoltz said, regarding the way he felt after hitting a comebacker off the end of his bat to Glavine his first time up. "It was a while before I could get the circulation back."
Despite the hype, it turned out that the weather was just as much of a storyline as the pitching matchup. Smoltz and the Braves, though, were able to cool off the red-hot Mets.
Guy Curtright is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.