Sunday, August 8, 2004

Maddux wins No. 300

First NL pitcher to accomplish feat since Carlton

By Janie McCauley
The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - Greg Maddux relied on guts, guile and his bullpen to win his 300th game.

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 most recent to do it in the American League, on June 13 last season.

"It's pretty special," he said. "I like to look ahead. I've never really looked back. When I'm done playing, I'll look back. I'm sure I'll pat myself on the back then."

He left in the sixth inning with a 6-3 lead, no outs and two runners on. Maddux didn't acknowledge the cheering, sellout crowd as he headed to the dugout and then on to the clubhouse to wait out his fate after throwing 82 pitches.

Jon Leicester and Kent Mercker escaped the jam with Chicago ahead 6-4. Mercker retired Ray Durham on a popup to end the sixth.

Kyle Farnsworth got Dustan Mohr to ground out with the bases loaded in the eighth, and LaTroy Hawkins threw a scoreless ninth.

After the final out, fans held up a large "W" banner, and a graphic recognizing Maddux's achievement was shown on the scoreboard. But Maddux never came back onto the field. He didn't feel it would be right to hold a huge celebration in somebody else's ballpark - a sign of the humility his team has come to expect.

"He's a sincere man," Baker said. "He pitched well enough to win. You don't win 300 games with your best stuff all the time."

The 38-year-old Maddux (11-7) allowed four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings, struck out three and walked three.

"I didn't really pitch all that good today," Maddux said. "It was a total team effort. It was great to see."

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