MONTREAL -- This was another of Tom Glavine's masterpieces, but with different strokes and more subtle highlights.
No glitter. No dazzle. Just straight-ahead Glavine adding to his formidable body of work.
In a memorable Monday afternoon performance that had all the markings of a great artist at work, Glavine reached a milestone in the Braves' 6-0 win over the Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium, becoming the 33rd pitcher in the last 100 years to notch five 20-win seasons.
"Twenty wins is a magic number for a starting pitcher," said Glavine, who now has 20 career shutouts. "Each time you do it, it adds credibility to your career."
The win, the Braves' third straight and seventh in their last nine games, upped their NL East lead to four games over the Mets. The two teams open a three-game series at Shea Stadium tonight with Atlanta's magic number at three.
In his fourth bid for No. 20, Glavine limited the Expos to eight hits, didn't issue a walk and struck out three. Following Wilton Guerrero's two-out triple in the fifth, he set down the last 13 hitters in succession.
In vaulting another threshold of greatness, Glavine made 100 pitches -- and all but a handful were fastballs. His changeup? It was lodged in the Expos' minds, but it rarely made an appearance.
"For me to throw less than 10 changeups in any game is very rare," Glavine said. "But they really weren't hitting my fastball hard and it was sinking well, so I stayed with it."
Before the smallest crowd (6,931) of the four games, the Braves finally beat a pitcher who had tormented them this season. Expos starter Javier Vazquez, who had beaten Atlanta twice, including a six-hit shutout Sept. 10, was less than perfect in pursuit of his 12th win.
The Braves, who had 30 hits and scored 24 runs in a pair of weekend wins, were less than efficient for seven innings Monday, leaving seven runners on and having two others thrown out at third and home.
Andruw Jones drove a Vazquez fastball into the left field seats (No. 34) in the first, but it was another five innings before the Braves crossed home plate again.
Chipper Jones, who doubled and was nailed at the plate trying to score on Brian Jordan's roller in the fourth, opened the sixth with a single. Andres Galarraga followed with another base hit, then two outs later third baseman Mike Mordecai's error on Reggie Sanders' tapper allowed Jones to score an extra run.
Javy Lopez, a strikeout victim in two of his three at-bats, singled in the eighth and sped to third on Sanders' line-hugging double to right. Keith Lockhart then grounded a single between first and second to make it 4-0.
In the ninth, run-scoring singles by Lopez and Brian Jordan against reliever Guillermo Mota iced the game.
"It was an important game for us," said Chipper Jones, who had three hits in a second straight game and was 9-for-17 in the series. "Now, we've assured ourselves that no matter what happens in New York, we'll leave in first place."
The Expos, who had beaten Glavine twice this season, stranded seven runners in five innings. Their best chance to score came in the fourth, when Vladimir Guerrero doubled and fled to third on Jose Vidro's roller to second. But, alerted by his teammates' yells, Glavine threw high and wide of the plate as Guerrero came charging down the line. Orlando Cabrera lunged and missed at the pitch and Guerrero was tagged out.
Glavine's only other nervous moment came in the fifth when Vladimir's older brother, Wilton, tripled underneath Andruw Jones' glove in center. But, Glavine induced Fernando Seguignol to tap to short and the game belonged to him.
"It sounds better to be a five-time 20-game winner, than a four-time winner," Glavine said. "I want to show I'm a consistent pitcher, not just through my early years, but through my whole career.
"It makes me feel good at 34 years old that I don't feel I've lost anything."
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