NEW YORK -- If there was one lesson to be learned from Tom Glavine's brilliant one-hitter against the Colorado Rockies, the New York Mets' left-hander thought it was obvious.
"I think I proved I have a whole lot left in my tank," Glavine said. "It's just a matter of doing it."
There were doubts about that last season when Glavine, a high-profile free agent signing, struggled to a 9-14 record with a 4.52 earned run average and, at age 37, often seemed done.
Now, a year older, he's 6-2 with a glittering 2.13 ERA and came within four outs of pitching the first no-hitter in Mets history Sunday in a 4-0 victory over the Rockies.
Instead, he settled for the best performance of his 17-year career, a classic game in which he retired the first 18 batters and took his no-hitter through two outs in the eighth inning before Kit Pellow doubled off the right-field wall.
Glavine (6-2) was hardly disturbed. He simply went back to what he had been doing all day, catching the corners, keeping Colorado hitters off balance, pitching a masterpiece.
He did not deny thinking about the no-hitter as he cruised easily through the Rockies' lineup. And when he gave up the hit, he shrugged it off.
"As soon as he hit it, I knew it was over," he said. "I kind of hoped it would die. It was not a letdown. It was more a sigh of relief. I didn't want to get caught up in it. I wanted to stay away from that. The important issue was winning the game.
"If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. There's no point changing what you do all day."
Pellow was not exactly sympathetic.
"Nobody wants to be on the losing side of a no-hitter," he said. "You wish it wouldn't get to that. I broke up the no-hitter but you'd like to string three or four hits together and get some runs. We just couldn't get him out of his rhythm."
This was classic Glavine, a dramatic contrast to the Mets' last three starters, none of whom made it past the fifth inning. He threw just 113 pitches, 71 for strikes. There were eight strikeouts and one walk. And he did it against one of baseball's best hitting teams.
Although the Rockies did not have Todd Helton or Larry Walker in the lineup, they lead the majors in home runs with 64, and their .274 batting average is third-best in the National League.
It was heady stuff for the 38-year-old Glavine, who had pitched six two-hitters but never a one-hitter.
"I feel I'm throwing as good as I did before," he said. "There are days I feel 38 and days I feel 25. I don't pay attention to the numeric figure next to my name."
In the Colorado dugout, manager Clint Hurdle admired the performance.
"His track record speaks for itself," Hurdle said. "He's a tough pitcher on the mound. He's a pro on the mound. He's a presence on the mound. He'd got great stuff. The one thing is, our young pitchers should watch this. They should benefit from it. You don't have to blow up a radar gun to be successful."
Mets manager Art Howe echoed that opinion
"He had them tied up in knots," Howe said. "Inside, away. That's pitching."
Glavine's approach never varies and Sunday was no different.
"You know all the cliches," he said. "One pitch at a time. One hitter a time. I used them all. After the warmup, I knew I had good stuff. After the first inning, I knew I had good location."
It was the 27th one-hitter in team history. Three of them came last season, two by Steve Trachsel, who starts for the Mets on Tuesday night against Philadelphia. Mets pitchers such as Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden, David Cone and Mike Scott have thrown no-hitters elsewhere, but not for New York.
The Mets supplied Glavine with an early lead on first-inning homers by Kaz Matsui and Cliff Floyd off Shawn Estes (6-3), and the left-hander settled into a comfort zone quickly.
Matsui led off the game with his fifth home run, his second leadoff homer in two games. One out later, Floyd also connected.
The Mets made it 3-0 in the third when Matsui opened with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on Floyd's groundout. In the sixth, Shane Spencer walked, stole second and third and came home on Glavine's single.
Notes: It was the fifth straight loss for Colorado, an NL-worst 6-15 on the road. ... The Mets reached .500 for first time since April 16. ... Matsui's fifth leadoff homer set a club record and tied a NL rookie record set by Chili Davis in 1982. Boston's Nomar Garciaparra holds the major league record of seven set in 1997. ... New York's Mike Piazza stretched his hitting streak to 10 games with a first-inning double.
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