OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- After living through more than his share of demoralizing defeats, rookie Joe Blanton finally has something to show for a strong start.
Blanton carried a perfect game into the fifth inning in his best outing yet and Mark Ellis hit a two-run double to lead the Oakland Athletics over the New York Mets 5-0 on Tuesday night.Blanton (2-6), a burly right-hander who outpitched Tom Glavine,
didn't allow a baserunner until Marlon Anderson lined a two-out single to right in the fifth. After that hit, Blanton got seven straight outs before Mike Piazza's eighth-inning single and another base hit by Anderson.This is the same pitcher who less than a month ago was knocked out of a game at Tampa Bay after one-third of an inning, giving up seven earned runs and six hits."I wouldn't say my confidence was shaken, but I started nibbling a little too much instead of going after hitters," Blanton said. "It's one of those games you have to forget about quick. ... I'm starting to get a little more comfortable."He made some key adjustments since that May 25 start and has been pleased with his recent bullpen sessions. On Tuesday, he thrived in the fast pace of the game. It allowed him to keep a nice rhythm.Blanton retired the first 14 batters, getting through each of the first three innings in 10 pitches and needing only 12 pitches in the fourth."He pitched a great game, but if you don't feel embarrassed about what we did tonight, you shouldn't be here," Mets first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz said. "As an offense, we should take more pride than that. He threw strike one, but we didn't put any pressure on him."Blanton's introduction to the starting rotation had been rather rude, so this had to provide a big confidence boost for the 24-year-old. He won for the first time since June 4 against Toronto, in his 11th start of the season. He hadn't lasted five innings in five of his previous eight starts.He was done after the second hit by Anderson, walking to the dugout to a loud standing ovation. Blanton struck out four and didn't walk a batter for the first time this season.Huston Street, another talented rookie, relieved Kiko Calero
with the bases loaded in the eighth and got the final five outs for his fourth save in six chances. Victor Diaz grounded into a double play to end the eighth-inning threat."Joe was awesome," Street said. "Joe set the tone."Eric Byrnes homered and Bobby Kielty had two hits and drove in a run for the A's, who won for the third time in four games after being swept in Washington last week. They also earned their seventh victory in their last eight home games.Oakland played great defense behind Blanton, who has a 2.70 ERA in June after ending May with a season-worst 6.66 ERA.First baseman Nick Swisher saved a hit with a spectacular diving stop on a hard-hit ball by Carlos Beltran in the seventh."He was painting in and out and made us chase a lot of pitches," Beltran said of Blanton.Glavine (4-6), making his first career appearance against the A's, lost for the fourth time in five starts, giving up 10 hits and three earned runs in six innings.This marked the first regular-season meeting between the clubs. They played in the 1973 World Series, won by the A's in seven games. Both teams have now played every other franchise in the majors in the regular season.The A's loaded the bases against Glavine in the fourth. Bobby Crosby, playing for the first time since leaving Friday's game with a strained right quadriceps muscle, singled to start the inning. Byrnes doubled two batters later before Swisher walked. Ellis followed by lining a double off the wall in right-center.Crosby had two hits and scored twice.New York second baseman Miguel Cairo left in the seventh with tightness in his left hamstring.
Reliever Danny Graves made his first appearance with the Mets since signing with the club Saturday. ... Mets center fielder Mike Cameron
was held out with a strained right quad that has also contributed to swelling in his knee. In addition, Cameron dislocated his left ring finger in Sunday's game against the Angels. ... Before the game, the A's recalled infiielder Keith Ginter from Triple-A Sacramento to start at third in place of Eric Chavez, who is nursing a sore shoulder. The A's optioned outfielder Matt Watson to Sacramento to make room for Ginter. ... Chavez played DH. His shoulder has bothered him for years, but recently he has had a hard time making throws without pain.