Maddux stifles Rockies, completes another walk-free start

Milestone: Trevor Hoffman had a perfect ninth inning for his fifth straight save conversion, getting his 1,000th career strikeout in the process.

Streaking: The Padres' Adrian Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the ninth.

Quotable: "Greg was great. He was efficient at throwing strikes, moving the ball in and out, up and down, changing speeds -- great game." -- Padres manager Bud Black, on Maddux

-- ESPN.com news services

Padres 3, Rockies 1

DENVER (AP) -- Greg Maddux wouldn't brag. He deferred all credit to his teammates.

That's just how he operates.

Maddux didn't walk a batter for the eighth straight start in leading the San Diego Padres to a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night, and was as humble as ever.

Since Maddux wouldn't boast, manager Bud Black did it for him.

"Greg was great," Black said. "He was efficient at throwing strikes, moving the ball in and out, up and down, changing speeds -- great game."

The 41-year-old Maddux is pitching well with his team in the thick of a pennant chase. The win allowed the Padres to maintain their 2 1/2-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the wild-card race. San Diego entered the game trailing Arizona by two games in the NL West.

Maddux (12-9) scattered three hits over six innings to win his fifth straight decision -- in a ballpark he's not particularly fond of.

"They hit everything at somebody," Maddux explained. "Just one of those things."

Maddux, who won for the 345th time in his career counteracted the thin air by getting the Rockies to hit into 12 groundouts. He also had three strikeouts.

"Everybody just caught it," Maddux said. "Let's face it -- I was hitting it a club farther on the golf course yesterday. This place is different."

Maddux ran his streak without a walk to 54 1/3 innings, spanning 212 batters. The last base on balls he surrendered was to Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt in the second inning on July 28 at Houston.

Maddux holds the NL record with 72 1/3 innings without a walk in 2001. He also went 51 innings without a base on balls in 1995.

But he doesn't think much about the streak. When asked about how well he's throwing, Maddux just shrugged his shoulders, deflecting the attention.

"I'm glad we're still in the hunt," Maddux said. "It's nice to be in a race when the games matter."

Trevor Hoffman led off the ninth with his 1,000th strikeout, getting Todd Helton to become the eighth reliever to reach the milestone. He finished up his perfect ninth by striking out Brad Hawpe for his 37th save in 42 opportunities.

Jeff Francis (15-7) pitched eight innings and giving up two runs on four hits. His bid to become the first Rockies lefty to win 16 games in a season was denied by a two-run second inning. He didn't allow a runner to reach second base after that.

Francis gave the bullpen a much needed breather a night after the Rockies used 10 pitchers -- an NL record for a nine-inning game -- in a 10-4 win.

"I thought he was really good, finished strong," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was only sketchy in the one inning. His command got better as the game went on."

The Rockies were dealt a double blow in the eighth inning. Willy Taveras strained his right quad stealing a base and then Kaz Matsui strained his right hamstring hustling out a single.

Hurdle attempted to downplay the injuries after the game.

"We've got guys who can play those positions and those guys think they can help the team win," he said. "We've won games without those guys before. It's going to be a challenge."

The pivotal moment in the game came when Heath Bell struck out Matt Holliday to end the eighth inning with the tying run on third.

"Matty is having a big season, one of the big reasons that we're where we are in the season," Hurdle said. "Their guy made good pitches."

Maddux doesn't make many mistakes. That's why players tried to jump on an early pitch.

"He had real good stuff, he always keeps you guessing," Troy Tulowitzki said. "Sometimes you don't know to be patient or to be aggressive."

Kevin Kouzmanoff's RBI single in the second gave the Padres an early lead. Khalil Greene scored when Josh Bard hit into a double play. Green finished 2-for-4 with a double and had an RBI single in the ninth.

Greene is now hitting .348 in his career at Coors Field.

"I do see the ball here," he said. "It's a pretty spacious park in the gaps, which is where I tend to hit the ball."

As for Maddux's performance, Greene wasn't amazed by it. He's seen it before.

"He's fun to play behind," Greene said. "He's still a great pitcher."

Game notes
Adrian Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the ninth. ... Black said there's no timetable for the return of Milton Bradley, who strained his right oblique muscle Friday night after fouling off a pitch. He's doubtful for Sunday's game.