Mets Undone by Former Top Draft Pick

Friday, August 11th 2006, 9:54 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Billy Traber performed precisely the way the New York Mets figured he would when they made the lefty a first-round draft pick back in 2000.

Unfortunately for the Mets, Traber was on the mound for the Nationals on Friday night, and he outdueled Tom Glavine in Washington's 2-1 victory over New York, which had won five consecutive games.

Traber (2-1) pitched into the eighth inning, allowing one run and four hits with no walks, to earn his eighth career major league win. That's 279 fewer than Glavine (12-5), who was almost as good: He allowed Brian Schneider's two-run double in the second, and that was pretty much it.

Staying ahead of hitters and throwing mainly in the mid-80s, Traber kept his pitch count low, needing only 81 to get through seven innings.

He was removed after giving up a leadoff single to Michael Tucker on the first pitch of the eighth. The fans gave Traber a standing ovation, but he didn't acknowledge it, running to the dugout with his head down.

Traber gave up a solo shot to the second batter of the game, Paul Lo Duca, who hadn't homered since May 13, and has been the focus of New York's tabloids, with reports involving gambling allegations and adultery claims. A few hours before the game, the Mets issued a statement saying baseball ``expressed no concern of any violation of any Major League Baseball rule regarding Paul Lo Duca,'' and ``we support him through this difficult period in his life.''

After that early run, Traber settled down, retiring seven batters in a row. He got some help in the second inning, when shortstop Felipe Lopez made a running, reaching, over-the-shoulder catch with his back to the infield on Jose Valentin's popup into shallow left-center.

Otherwise, the only Mets to get to Traber were Jose Reyes with a double in the third, and Lastings Milledge with a single in the fifth. Both hits came with two outs, and Traber got the next batter both times. When Reyes reached on Lopez's fielding error in the sixth, Traber picked him off. When Traber hit David Wright in the seventh, the pitcher got Julio Franco to ground into a double play.

After Tucker reached in the eighth, reliever Jon Rauch came in and got two quick outs on popups. But a wild pitch allowed Tucker to take second, and Reyes reached on an infield single when Lopez's throw was late. Reyes stole second _ his 49th swipe _ to put runners on second and third with Lo Duca up. But Rauch struck him out swinging at a high 91 mph offering.

Chad Cordero pitched the ninth for his 21st save, hitting one batter and walking another before getting Tucker to ground out to end it.

Traber was drafted out of Loyola Marymount by the Mets, who traded him to Cleveland in 2002 as part of the deal that brought Robert Alomar to New York. His career highlight with the Indians was a one-hit shutout of the Yankees in 2003 _ but two months later, he had reconstructive elbow surgery, then missed all of 2004.

He made two starts for Washington early this season, but he was sent down to the minors after giving up four runs in 1 1-3 innings on April 25 in his most recent appearance in the majors until Friday.

Glavine threw a season-high 123 pitches, allowing two runs and seven hits. He struck out seven, walked one and is 1-3 with a 5.11 ERA in his last nine starts.

Notes: CF Carlos Beltran was back in the lineup after sitting out a game to rest his sore right knee. ... The Nationals called up RHP Jason Bergmann to start Saturday. Bergmann takes the roster spot of OF Luis Matos, who was unconditionally released Thursday night.