Archive for Wednesday, April 30, 2003

National League Roundup: Maddux logs third straight victory

Braves top Astros, 3-1, for 12th triumph in 14 games

April 30, 2003

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— Greg Maddux and the Atlanta Braves are putting it all together at the same time.

Maddux pitched seven sharp innings to win his third straight decision, and Gary Sheffield hit a two-run single as Atlanta beat the Houston Astros, 3-1, Tuesday night.

The Braves have won 12 of 14 following a 4-8 start, and Maddux also has recovered nicely.

"I felt like I got away with a lot of mistakes the first couple of innings," he said. "But I pitched better the last couple of innings. The first couple of games, it seemed like they whacked it pretty good. Since then I've been catching some breaks."

The right-hander lost his first three starts for the first time in his career, at which point he had an 11.05 ERA. But he held Houston to just one run and five hits, outpitching Roy Oswalt.

"At this time, the biggest thing is I've gotten outs on mistakes," Maddux said. "But that's the way it goes. The first couple of games, I didn't pitch that bad, and the last couple of games I haven't pitched that good."

John Smoltz worked the ninth for his 10th save in as many tries and 26th in a row dating to last season. He struck out Brad Ausmus with two runners on to end it.

"The only selfish goals I have are to pitch in as many games as we win," Smoltz said. "I don't want to blow two in a row. I guess I want to keep the streak alive as long as I can."

The Astros scored a run in the first inning when Geoff Blum singled to left field and scored on Jeff Kent's double to the right-center gap. After that, Maddux (3-3) limited the Astros to three hits and didn't allow a runner past second base. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter, improving to 22-9 lifetime against Houston.

Cardinals 13, Mets 3

St. Louis -- Matt Morris pitched six solid innings, and Scott Rolen and Edgar Renteria each drove in four runs as St. Louis beat New York. Morris (2-2) allowed two runs and five hits with four strikeouts and one walk. He retired 11 consecutive batters before the Mets scored twice in the sixth on Mike Piazza's RBI double and Ty Wigginton's run-scoring triple -- which bounced out of the glove of center fielder Jim Edmonds at the wall.

Pirates 7, Padres 2

San Diego -- Jeff D'Amico pitched six solid innings and Pittsburgh broke out of its offensive slump with a win over San Diego. D'Amico (2-2) held the Padres in check, limiting them to one run on five hits. D'Amico allowed a home run to pitcher Adam Eaton. But otherwise, San Diego failed to threaten against the right-hander.

Dodgers 6, Phillies 2

Los Angeles -- Kevin Brown pitched seven strong innings, and Los Angeles Dodgers received solo homers from Paul Lo Duca and Adrian Beltre to beat Philadelphia. Lo Duca's one-out homer to left field in the third ended a string of 20 consecutive scoreless innings by the Phillies' staff, including Kevin Millwood's no-hitter on Sunday and Brett Myers' 3-0 win Monday night.

Marlins 7, D'backs 5

Phoenix -- Mark Redman pitched shutout ball for seven innings, and Alex Gonzalez hit a three-run homer, sending Florida past Arizona. Mike Lowell and Todd Hollandsworth added two-run shots for the Marlins, who snapped Arizona's first three-game winning streak of the season.

Expos 3, Brewers 2

Milwaukee -- Brian Schneider hit a tiebreaking RBI infield single with one out in the ninth inning to lead Montreal past Milwaukee. Brad Wilkerson homered and scored the go-ahead run and Montreal starter Javier Vazquez struck out 12 in seven innings as the Expos won for the fourth time in five games.

Rockies 10, Reds 5

Denver -- Jason Jennings overcame a shaky fourth inning for his second win of the season, and Preston Wilson homered and drove in four runs as Colorado beat Cincinnati. Colorado has won three straight after losing four in a row and improved to 11-2 at home. Larry Walker, Charles Johnson and Ronnie Belliard also homered for the Rockies, who had 13 hits.

Cubs 4, Giants 2

San Francisco -- Moises Alou homered and drove in two runs, and Dusty Baker won in his first game back in San Francisco as Chicago beat the Giants. Kerry Wood struck out eight over six strong innings for the Cubs, who turned their new manager's emotional homecoming into a success. Baker spent the past 10 seasons with the Giants, winning 840 games.

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