Maddux notches career win No. 349 as Padres blank Dodgers

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Greg Maddux didn't stick around to talk about his 349th career victory. He left the clubhouse right after the final out to catch a plane for Las Vegas, where his family is no doubt planning a celebration for his 42nd birthday.

Maddux allowed two hits over five innings and combined with four San Diego relievers on the five-hit shutout, using Paul McAnulty's fourth-inning sacrifice fly to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 on Sunday.

"This is a tough loss," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said after his team's fifth defeat in six games. "When you come into the day and know you're going to give up one run, you have to feel pretty good about things -- even though you know you are facing Maddux."

The four-time Cy Young winner was exactly what the Padres needed following Saturday night's 11-1 loss and heading into an off day. Maddux (2-0) has made nine of his 35 career starts against the Dodgers in April, going 8-0 with a 1.11 ERA in that month. He threw 68 pitches in 95-degree heat, striking out two and walking one.

"I've always had a lot of respect for guys who just say, 'Here it is, and if you beat me, you beat me.' That's the way he's always gone about his business," Torre said. "You don't have to throw the ball 95 miles an hour to be a successful pitcher. I mean, I grew up in the big leagues with Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette, and those guys who relied more on command than on blowing people away.

"A lot of times Maddux will beat you with his reputation," Torre added. "Sometimes, hitters go up there trying to look for too many things. But he's always going to give you a pitch to hit. The thing is, he has the knack of reading hitters' body language. It seems every time you take a pitch it's a strike, and every time you swing, it's not. He just doesn't throw the ball straight -- and he's got the guts of a burglar."

There are currently 20 members of the Hall of Fame who pitched past their 42nd birthday. Thirteen of them were born in the 20th century, including Don Sutton, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry, Dennis Eckersley, and Goose Gossage -- who will formally be inducted into Cooperstown on July 27.

"It doesn't surprise me because he's a great athlete. And great athletes who can stay healthy can perform a long time," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The way he naturally throws the ball is conducive to a long career."

Trevor Hoffman, the all-time saves leader, pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth of the season and 528th of his career.

Chad Billingsley (0-2) allowed a run and four hits, struck out eight and walked two over five innings in his first crack at the Padres since going 4-0 with a 1.05 ERA last year against them.

The only other time that a Dodgers pitcher beat San Diego four times in a season was 1974, when Sutton and Andy Messersmith accounted for half of Los Angeles' 16 victories in the season series (16-2) and the Dodgers went on to win the NL pennant.

"It was a great effort by Greg, going up against a guy that we had trouble with the last two years," Black said. "Billingsley's always tough on us, but Greg was on top of his game. I thought Greg only had one more inning left in him, anyway, so I just wanted to bring in a fresh arm and give them a different look."

Billingsley matched zeros with Maddux through three innings before the Padres scratched out a run in the fourth with a leadoff walk to Jim Edmonds -- his first of the season in 29 plate appearances -- a double by Khalil Greene and McAnulty's scoring flyball to right field. Edmonds' 41 walks last season were his lowest total during an eight-year stint with the Cardinals.

Greene, whose .984 fielding percentage last season set a franchise record for shortstops, bailed out Maddux in the bottom half. He made a diving stop of Russell Martin's hard-hit grounder toward the middle and threw him out to strand Jeff Kent at second base.

"With Mad Dog on the mound, they're going to put it in play against him. And our fielders were on their toes," Black said. "We always seem to play good defense with Mad Dog out there because he works fast."

Maddux gave up a bloop single to his first batter, Rafael Furcal, then was charged with his first balk since the 2000 season, snapping a string of 247 consecutive starts without one. Furcal remained stranded at second base as Juan Pierre lined out to second, Andre Ethier flied out to center and Kent followed with a sharp comebacker to Maddux that the 17-time Gold Glove winner handled flawlessly.

"Maddux may not have the stuff he used to, but he has a big heart and he displayed it today by going out and running through our lineup the way he did," Pierre said.

Game notes
Maddux's next start is Saturday at Arizona, where the 22-year veteran will attempt to become the ninth pitcher in history with 350 career wins. Roger Clemens joined that fraternity last July 1 at Yankee Stadium against Minnesota. ... RHP Jonathan Broxton worked the eighth inning for the Dodgers and struck out the side. His 99 strikeouts last season were second in the majors among relievers, three behind San Diego's Heath Bell.