ATLANTA (AP) -- Greg Maddux didn't think his previous start was that bad, and he wasn't convinced this one was anything special.
The numbers told a different story.
Maddux (14-6), pitching on three days' rest, moved within one victory of joining Cy Young as the only pitchers to win 15 or more games in 15 straight seasons. Maddux is scheduled to make two more starts.
"If we hadn't clinched already, it would be very important,'' he said. "Obviously, I want to win. When there's so much at stake for your team, who cares, really -- other than me?''
In his previous game, Maddux gave up seven runs and seven hits
in two innings against the Florida Marlins, including a career-high
six runs in the first inning. He threw just 41 pitches in that
game, enabling him to move up in the rotation.
"I didn't think I pitched too bad the last time,'' Maddux said. "I pretty much threw the same pitches tonight, they just hit them at somebody. Defensively, we had a very good game.''
Maddux improved to 19-6 in 34 starts on three days' rest. He
threw 82 pitches and never went to a three-ball count.
"Definitely, he was locating his pitches better,'' catcher
Henry Blanco said. "The best thing tonight for him was he was
hitting his spots. Any time he hit his spots, they couldn't do
Vicente Padilla (14-11) worked out of several jams, allowing two
runs and nine hits in seven innings. He stranded 11 runners.
"It's almost like you're playing a six- or seven-inning game, the way their bullpen shuts people down,'' Phillies manager Larry Bowa said.
It's the eighth time this year Smoltz has gone more than one
"I haven't been in that situation lately,'' Smoltz said. "That was a big situation in the eighth, and I know it was big for (Maddux).''
"He's very good,'' Byrd said. "He's tough to hit. He hits the spots at different speeds.''
Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Mark DeRosa led off
with a double and scored on a bloop single by Sheffield. Henry
Blanco hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
"We want to get him that 15th win,'' Sheffield said of Maddux. "We want to help him make history.''
Andruw Jones nearly made a huge blunder in the third inning,
when he nonchalantly tried to catch a fly ball by Padilla. The ball
bounced off the heel of Jones' glove and then a knee before he
snared it with his bare hand.
Jones quickly threw the ball into the stands _ it was the final
out of the inning _ and jogged to the dugout with a grin.
Braves SS Rafael Furcal was a late scratch because of flu.
... Castilla has made just six errors at third base and has a .981
fielding percentage, which would set a team record. Ken Oberkfell
had a .979 percentage in 1987. ... A heavy rain shower about two
hours before the game prevented both teams from taking batting
practice. The skies cleared about an hour before the scheduled 7:35
p.m. EDT start.
Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara won't pitch again this season
Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara has been shut down for the rest of the season, a decision that manager Don Mattingly called "the best thing for Sandy."
Castillo strikes out 8, surging Mariners drop A's 5-1
— Luis Castillo struck out eight in six innings of two-hit ball and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 5-1 on Saturday to keep pace with the Toronto Blue Jays in their bid to host an AL wild-card series.
Giants lose to D-backs, eliminated from playoff contention
— Sergio Alcántara had a pair of two-run doubles for Arizona in the Diamondbacks' 8-4 win over San Francisco which eliminated the Giants from postseason contention on Saturday.
Sergio Alcántara's 2-run double gives Diamondback's the lead
Sergio Alcántara doubles to the left-field wall to give Arizona the lead against the San Francisco.
Luis Torrens hits RBI double to pad Mariners' lead
Luis Torrens drives in a run to give the Mariners a 4-1 lead over the Athletics.
Hernández, Jansen HR, Jays hold wild-card edge, rout Red Sox
— Teoscar Hernández homered, doubled twice and singled, Danny Jansen drove in five runs and the Toronto Blue Jays moved one step closer to wrapping up the top spot in the AL wild-card race, routing the Boston Red Sox 10-0 Saturday.