Glavine, Delgado help Mets avenge Game 7 loss

Unsung hero: Paul Lo Duca sparked the Mets offensively and defensively, contributing three RBIs and making a tag at the plate to curb a potential sixth-inning rally by the Cards.

Figure this: The 41-year-old Glavine earned his 291st career win.

Quotable: "You look forward to [Opening Day] like a birthday party when you're a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen." -- the late Joe DiMaggio

Elias Says: The Mets infield turned four double plays, equaling the highest Opening Day total in 75 years.

-- ESPN.com news services

Mets 6, Cardinals 1

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Tom Glavine patiently watched the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate the World Series title, a championship the New York Mets could have won themselves.

Then the 41-year-old went out and set a good example for how the
Mets might finish the job this season, beating the champions 6-1 in
the major league opener on Sunday night.

"There's no question for us as a group that it was a little bit
of a disappointment that it wasn't us," Glavine said. "It could
have very easily been us, but it wasn't. Maybe it's the kind of
thing that you watch and know that when the season is over for us,
that's what we want to be doing."

Score one for the NLCS victims. The Mets parlayed some fine pitching by Tom Glavine, exceptional defense and clutch hitting to a 6-1 victory before 45,429 true believers at Busch, writes Jerry Crasnick. Story

Glavine earned his 291st win, and Carlos Delgado put the Mets
ahead with an early two-run double off Chris Carpenter.

Paul Lo Duca added three RBIs and made a nifty tag at the plate
for the Mets, who lost to St. Louis in Game 7 of last year's NL
Championship Series, which ended when Carlos Beltran took a called
third strike from Adam Wainwright with the bases loaded in a 3-1
loss. The Cardinals went on to beat Detroit in five games for their
first Series title since 1982.

Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Bob Gibson and Lou Brock were on
hand for the festivities, which included the traditional appearance
of the Budweiser Clydesdales. Cardinals players entered in a
motorcade that passed the World Series trophy, located near home
plate. Manager Tony La Russa, arrested during spring training on a
drunken driving charge -- was greeted warmly by the crowd of 45,429
at Busch Stadium, where every game has been a sellout since the
ballpark opened last year.

The Cardinals unveiled flags atop a scoreboard commemorating all
10 World Series titles, along with a huge sign, "World
Champions." A large pennant celebrating the 2006 championship was
raised just below the American flag above the left-center field

"The day was beautiful, the fans were receptive," La Russa
said. "I was overwhelmed."

During the nearly hour-long pregame presentation, many Mets
players paid more attention to stretching, outfield sprints and
conversations with each other than the festivities on the field.

Mets manager Willie Randolph said he would watch the entire
presentation, if only because it showed respect for the Cardinals'

"Why not? It's nice," he said. "That would be assuming again,
that I'm somewhat upset that they're world champions. They deserve
to be where they are. I'll watch it. There's going to be some of
those Cardinal greats out there."

David Wright agreed, saying that the six months since losing the
NLCS helped ease any pain.

"Hopefully, we have that in the back of our minds and that
gives us that extra motivation," Wright said.

Glavine, counted on to lead the Mets' rotation while Pedro Martinez recovers from shoulder surgery, allowed one run and six
hits in six innings before Pedro Feliciano, Joe Smith, Aaron Heilman and Billy Wagner finished up.

"I think he's better than ever myself," La Russa said of
Glavine. "Guys that do it for years and years and years are

Carpenter, who topped the major leagues with a 1.81 ERA at home
last year, retired his first five batters, then allowed the Mets to
go 9-for-15 with a sacrifice and a walk against him the next 2 1/3

"I felt strong, I just wasn't happy with my location,"
Carpenter said. "Balls were out over the plate, good, hittable
pitches, especially to a lineup like that. You make a mistake,
they're going to hit it, and they did."

Delgado's opposite-field, two-run double high off the left-field
wall put the Mets ahead in the third, and New York made it 5-0 in
the fourth on Lo Duca's two-out single and an RBI single by
Beltran. Lo Duca added a run-scoring single in the ninth off Brad Thompson.

After David Eckstein hit an RBI double in the sixth, Beltran
threw out Eckstein at the plate on Preston Wilson's sharp single to
center. Yadier Molina ended the inning by breaking his bat on an
infield popup with the bases loaded. La Russa called it "kind of a
foolish throw."

"I don't think you make that throw too often, and he pulled it
off," the manager added. "That's the kind of night they had."

The Mets thought otherwise.

"It's the kind of thing you never expect, but when you get it
it's a huge momentum swing," Glavine said. "As it turned out, the
way the inning progressed, it was a huge play."

Glavine also benefited from Moises Alou's diving catch in
shallow left field on Adam Kennedy's flare to start the sixth.
Glavine induced two of the Cardinals' four double-play balls.

Game notes
There was a moment of silence to mark the recent deaths of
former commissioner Bowie Kuhn, longtime Cardinals general manager
Bing Devine and Missouri Sen. Thomas Eagleton. ... The Mets are
29-17 on Opening Day for a .603 winning percentage, best in major
league history. ... The Cardinals and Mets opened for the first
time since 1996, La Russa's first season in St. Louis. ... Glavine
has won three straight Opening Day starts and is 5-3 with a 3.70
ERA in eight openers. ... Carpenter is 2-1 in four opening-day
starts. ... Eckstein was 3-for-4 and is 10-for-28 (.357) in seven