Maddux last pitched against Atlanta in 1992

CHICAGO (AP) -- Greg Maddux beat the Atlanta Braves and then,

almost longingly, wished them good luck in the playoffs.

For the first time in more than a decade, the ex-Braves star

will be sitting out the postseason. And beating his former team in

a meaningless regular-season finale was no consolation.

"It was embarrassing walking out on the field today. We won,

but big deal," Maddux said Sunday after getting the victory for

the Chicago Cubs in their 10-8 victory over the NL East-champion

Braves.

"It's just kind of a big letdown after the last couple of days.

It was tough to go out there. It really should have mattered and it

didn't," Maddux added.

The Cubs led the wild-card race with nine games left, then lost

seven of eight in a dramatic collapse before being eliminated

Saturday.

Atlanta earlier wrapped up its 13th straight division title and

will face Houston in the first round Wednesday with Jaret Wright

starting the opener for the Braves, probably against Roger Clemens.

"You know you wish the Braves well. They're a great

organization and I enjoyed every day I played over there," Maddux

said.

Facing the Braves for the first time since July 10, 1992, the

last year of his first stint with the Cubs and his first Cy Young

Award season, Maddux worked six innings and gave up a pair of

homers to Charles Thomas while yielding six runs.

Maddux (16-11) spent 11 seasons with the Braves, going to the

postseason every time and winning three more Cy Youngs.

"I think this team was just as good as all the teams I have

been on in the past with Atlanta," Maddux said of the Cubs. "This

team was legit.

"It was ours to take and we didn't take it. We were in the

driver's seat and it didn't work out for us."

Maddux rejoined the Cubs as free agent in the offseason and

although he's given up a career-high 35 homers, got his 300th

victory and also ran up 15 wins for a major league-record 17th

straight season.

Maddux now has 305 victories, 194 with the Braves and 111 for

the Cubs.

The Braves didn't start many of their regulars Sunday. Chipper

Jones didn't play after being hit in the right hand with a pitch

Saturday.

"Chipper will be fine. He's not OK, but he will be OK," Braves

manager Bobby Cox said.

Jones missed a chance to extend his streak of 100-RBI seasons to

nine, finishing with 96.

The Braves were still unsure if projected Game 2 starter John

Thomson would be able to go after leaving Saturday's outing after

three innings because of a pulled muscle in his side.

"I don't know. He's got to throw off the mound first," Cox

added. Mike Hampton is slated to go in Game 3 against the Astros,

who clinched the wild card Sunday by beating the Rockies.

Moises Alou, playing perhaps his final game for the Cubs, hit a

two-run homer in the first, his career-best 39th of the season.

Rookie Jason Dubois added a two-run triple and scored on Paul

Byrd's wild pitch for a 5-0 lead.

Byrd (8-7) lasted just four innings, giving up nine hits and

nine runs, including three homers on a day when the wind was

blowing out at 17 mph.

"That was not what I was looking for to finish the season,"

Byrd said. "One of those days where if the ball was elevated, it

was going to leave the park."

Thomas hit a three-run shot off Maddux in the second following

singles by Julio Franco and Eli Marrero.

Dubois hit his first major league homer, a two-run shot in the

third, Mark Grudzielanek added a solo shot in the fourth and Aramis

Ramirez had a wind-blown RBI double to make it 9-4.

Thomas had a two-run shot off Maddux in the sixth, pinch-hitter

Adam LaRoche homered off Ryan Dempster in the seventh, and Dewayne

Wise went deep off Kent Mercker in the eighth.Game notes
Dubois started in place of Sammy Sosa, who didn't arrive in

the clubhouse until 70 minutes before the first pitch. Manager

Dusty Baker said Sosa was "ailing" and was not on the bench

during the game. Sosa apparently left the game early and Baker was

not happy about it. "I don't know when he left. He didn't have

permission," Baker said. "I don't know why. There's no tension

between us. He asked for the day off yesterday. He said he was

hurting." ... Chip Caray, the Cubs' TV play-by-play announcer the

last seven years, is leaving for a similar job with the Braves,

where he will join his dad, Skip Caray. There was no immediate word

if Cubs color analyst Steve Stone, whose criticism of Baker led to

a meeting with team officials this week, will be retained.