posted on Aug, 7 2004 @ 06:55 PM
greg Maddux has become the second cubs pitcher to win 300 games in his career, with an 8-4 win over the giants today
Cubs 8, Giants 4
By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer
August 7, 2004
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Greg Maddux relied on guts, guile and his bullpen to win his 300th game because he never quite found the pinpoint control that
has so defined his stellar career.
Maddux calmly overcame a shaky start to become the 22nd major league pitcher to reach 300 victories, leading the Chicago Cubs over the San Francisco
Giants 8-4 on Saturday.
``Obviously, to win 300 games, you've got to have a lot of help. I've played on a lot of good teams, and a lot of times, you're only as good as the
guys behind you. Today was a good example,'' Maddux said.
He is the first National Leaguer to accomplish the feat since Philadelphia's Steve Carlton in 1983. Roger Clemens was the last to do it on his fourth
attempt for the New York Yankees on June 13 last season.
Maddux needed just two tries, after getting a no-decision in his first chance last Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies.
He left in the sixth with a 6-3 lead, no outs and two runners on, bumping fists with manager Dusty Baker. But Maddux didn't acknowledge the cheering,
sellout crowd as he headed into the dugout and then on to the clubhouse to wait out his fate after throwing 82 pitches.
The Cubs' relievers came through.
Jon Leicester and Kent Mercker escaped the jam with Chicago ahead 6-4. Mercker retired Ray Durham on a popup to end the inning.
Kyle Farnsworth got Dustan Mohr to ground out with the bases loaded in the eighth, and LaTroy Hawkins secured the win with a scoreless ninth.
After the final out, Cubs fans held up a large ``W'' banner, and a graphic recognizing Maddux's achievement was shown on the center-field scoreboard.
But Maddux never came back onto the field.
``I didn't really pitch all that good today,'' Maddux said. ``It was a total team effort. It was great to see.''
The 38-year-old right-hander certainly wanted to get this major milestone over with, and so did the rest of the Cubs -- who knew their star pitcher
cared more about bringing the focus back to the their playoff chase.
And Chicago's potent lineup rallied from a three-run deficit to help Maddux (11-7) win his fourth straight decision and improve his career record to
``It's more of a sense of relief more than anything,'' Maddux said.
He allowed four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, striking out three and walking three.
Maddux is the second Cubs pitcher to reach 300 wins. Grover Cleveland Alexander achieved the feat in his last win of the 1924 season, a 7-3, 12-inning
victory over the New York Giants in which he pitched a complete game.
Everybody thought it would be easier for Maddux once the Giants moved ace Jason Schmidt up a day to pitch Friday, then called up rookie right-hander
Brad Hennessey to make his major league debut.
But that wasn't the case through the early innings, when Maddux labored and never looked comfortable on the mound, and Hennessey (0-1) got two early
strikeouts against Sammy Sosa.
Maddux had already allowed five hits and walked three through three innings, throwing 61 pitches.
Then the Cubs started the fourth with three straight hits, including Todd Walker's two-run double.
Chicago tied the game at 3 on Aramis Ramirez's RBI single in the fifth, then Derrek Lee hit a go-ahead double off the wall in right-center to chase
Hennessey, who received a standing ovation as he left.
In the next inning, Corey Patterson hit a two-run homer to give the Cubs a 6-3 lead.
Moises Alou added a two-run homer in the eighth.
Hennessey, who was 6 years old when Maddux made his major league debut in September 1986, allowed four earned runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings.
It was the first time a pitcher reached 300 wins against a pitcher making his major league debut since John McPherson lost to Cy Young in 1901.
It wasn't easy. Maddux, who has won four NL Cy Young Awards, needed 29 pitches to get out of the first.
Durham led off with a triple off the wall in right-center. Maddux then struck out Ricky Ledee swinging before walking J.T. Snow. That brought up Barry
Bonds, who hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Durham for a 1-0 lead. It was Bonds' 18th career RBI against Maddux.
Edgardo Alfonzo followed with a double before A.J. Pierzynski's foul out to left.
Maddux made his major league debut against Houston at 20 years and 4 months -- the youngest Cubs pitcher in a game since 19-year-old Rick James in
Maddux was picked by the Cubs in the second round of the 1984 amateur draft, then signed with the Braves as a free agent in 1992. He has a major
league-record 16 straight seasons with 15 or more wins -- the last 11 with Atlanta.
He rejoined the Cubs as a free agent in February.