ATLANTA — Tom Glavine overcame a shaky first inning. Jorge Campillo pushed aside all those bad memories from his first big league start.
The result: a sweep for the Atlanta Braves.
Glavine pitched six strong innings against his former team, retiring his last 17 hitters, to lead the Braves past the New York Mets 6-1 in the opener of a doubleheader Tuesday. Then it was Campillo’s turn, and he was even better than his future Hall of Famer teammate — six scoreless innings for his first major league win, a 6-2 triumph in the nightcap.
After the second game was delayed 1 hour, 39 minutes by a fierce thunderstorm, the Braves quickly picked up where they left off in the opener, improving the NL’s best home record.
Chipper Jones, still hitting above .400, had a run-scoring double in the first. Atlanta added three more runs in the third off Claudio Vargas, capped by Kelly Johnson’s two-run triple into the right-field corner. Mark Kotsay added a two-run homer in the eighth off Matt Wise.
Campillo (1-0) was making his second big league start, and this was sure better than the last one. With Seattle in 2005, the right-hander got only four outs before leaving with an elbow injury that led to season-ending surgery.
Against the Mets, Campillo allowed three hits, struck out seven and didn’t walk anyone. He threw 78 pitches in by far his longest appearance of the season, 54 for strikes.
After a few forgettable relief appearances for the Mariners over the last two seasons, the 30-year Campillo signed with the Braves as a minor-league free agent. He earned a promotion early in the year when injuries ravaged the pitching staff.
Campillo pitched well in relief — 13 appearances with 1.27 ERA — and got another shot at starting in a day-night doubleheader that resulted from an April 4 rainout.
The showers struck again, but Campillo didn’t mind waiting. He retired the first nine hitters before Jose Reyes led off the fourth with a single, and wound up facing only one over the minimum. Reyes inexplicably tried to steal second with his team down 4-0 and was thrown out. Ryan Church, who singled in the fifth, was erased with a double play.
Vargas (0-2) lasted five innings, giving up five hits and all four Atlanta runs. The Braves improved to 18-5 at Turner Field, a striking contrast to their 6-16 road record.
The doubleheader started ominously for Glavine and the Braves. On the sixth pitch of the game, Luis Castillo lofted a fly ball that barely cleared the wall in left for his first homer of the season. The Mets then loaded the bases with one out on singles by David Wright and Church, sandwiched around a walk to Carlos Beltran.
But Moises Alou hit a hard liner right at third baseman Chipper Jones, and right fielder Jeff Francoeur hauled in a fly ball to deep right by slumping Carlos Delgado to get the Braves out the inning trailing just 1-0.
After that, Glavine (2-1) was unhittable. The Mets went three-up, three-down over the next five innings before the 42-year-old lefty, bothered a bit by a sore right knee, turned it over to the bullpen.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would go 17 up, 17 down after that first inning," said Glavine, who spent the previous five seasons with the Mets before re-signing with his original team over the winter. "There was no reason to expect that."
Glavine conceded it was a little different to face the Mets than any other team.
"I probably had a little too much adrenaline," he said. "I had to fight that a little bit. Once I got over that, I was able to make my pitches."
After the first, New York didn’t have another runner until Reyes singled off Blaine Boyer with two outs in the eighth.
Brian McCann homered and drove in three runs for the Braves, who handed John Maine (5-3) his first loss in nearly a month. The right-hander had won four straight starts but was knocked around in this one, giving up four runs and eight hits in four-plus innings.
"I got the ball up in the zone," Maine said. "I didn’t get a lot of swings and misses."
Glavine’s performance was especially satisfying in light of how he finished 2007 with the Mets, getting rocked on the final day of the regular season to complete New York’s historic collapse in the NL East race.
"You’re always trying to prove people wrong," he said. "There were a lot of naysayers about me coming to pitch with the way I finished last season. I still think I can pitch. That’s the most important thing."
He’ll get no argument from his former teammates.
"As the game went on, he threw more off-speed stuff," Delgado said. "He threw more changeups. He was challenging guys a little bit more. He’s a smart guy."
The Mets, coming off a two-game sweep of the Yankees, managed just six hits in the opener.
The Atlanta bullpen extended its streak of scoreless innings to 20 in a row before Boyer gave up a run-scoring double to Ramon Castro in the eighth inning of game two. After allowing an RBI single to Reyes, Manny Acosta got the final four outs for his third save.
The long day ended with a scary play. While turning a double play at second base, Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar struck Church in the head with his right knee. Church was face down on the field for several minutes before staggering off, while Escobar had to be helped to the Braves dugout. Atlanta’s Mark Teixeira reached base seven times in the doubleheader on four hits and three walks.