ATLANTA -- If Tom Glavine could have scripted his 200th career victory, it might have looked something like this: A very simple plot, an early lead, without a lot of muss and fuss, accomplished in a very efficient fashion.
He said as much Saturday when someone asked if he wished the Braves had saved some runs for him after a 13-5 win. Then he followed the scenario almost to a T Sunday, when he became the 96th pitcher to win 200 games by handcuffing the Houston Astros for eight innings in the Braves' 6-3 win before 40,613 fans at Turner Field.
On the same day that broadcasters Skip Caray and Pete Van Weiren were honored for 25 years of service with the team, Glavine joined Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux as the only active pitchers with 200 victories, striking out one and walking one. The win came with a save from Mike Remlinger and an assist from second baseman Keith Lockhart, whose diving stop on Bill Speiers' grounder up the middle produced the final out and prevented the Astros from bringing the winning run to the plate.
If Glavine was nervous, he didn't look it. He set down 12 straight at one stretch and only faced trouble in the second, sixth and ninth innings.
"I just tried to put it on a level where I could deal with it," said Glavine. "I looked at it like a playoff game. The hard part is waiting around for the game to start. The game is the easy part."
In the second, Richard Hidalgo and Moises Alou opened with consecutive singles, but Glavine retired the next three batters to escape with no runs scored. The Astros reached him for a run in the sixth on Jeff Bagwell's RBI single.
The milestone put Glavine in the position of reliving his career afterward, and he admitted 200 wins seemed remote early on.
"It was slim and none, and slim was halfway out the door. My first year I was 2-4, and the next year I was 7-17," he said. "I was just trying to find a way to stay in the big leagues. My name probably came up in trade talks a thousand times early on. Thank God Bobby (Cox, then the team's general manager) didn't pull the trigger on any of those."
Sunday's win was the sixth straight for Glavine (13-5), and it allowed the Braves to keep their lead in the National League East at five games over the New York Mets, who beat St. Louis 4-2 Sunday.
Glavine, whose first major-league start also was against the Astros, gave up two singles and a walk in the ninth before giving way to Remlinger, who gave up an RBI single to Tony Eusebio but recorded the final three outs for his ninth save.
"You don't want to mess it up," said Remlinger, "but also, for me the attitude is whether it's the seventh inning or the ninth inning, it's the same job. It's a little bigger game for him, obviously, but you can't think about that stuff when you're out there."
The Braves gave Glavine the early lead in the bottom of the second, when Wally Joyner scored on Keith Lockhart's groundout, sprinting in from third when Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell threw to second trying to double off Javy Lopez. George Lombard then scored Lopez with a single to left.
Atlanta added a run in the fourth on Lockhart's RBI double and three more in the fifth, when Lopez doubled home two.
"Getting a three-run lead was huge," said Glavine. "And having a six-run lead was great."
From there, only two bits of drama remained: Whether Glavine would complete the job himself, and whether Andruw Jones would catch Craig Biggio's looping line drive in the eighth.
Jones' diving snag in shallow left-center field wasn't even a tough one by his standards, and Glavine appeared ready to seal the deal after needing just five pitches in the eighth.
But in the ninth he walked Bagwell, and Cox came out to talk it over. Glavine told him he wanted to try to get a double play then coaxed a ground ball from Richard Hidalgo that was out of the reach of Rafael Furcal.
Alou followed with the single that got Glavine out of the game.
"At that point, the game is on the line, and that becomes more important than any personal achievement," said Glavine. "I would like to have finished it, but it was more important to get the win."
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