Miami (85-69) at Atlanta (96-59)

Light Rain Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 67° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun Sep 21, 2003
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Atlanta’s Greg Maddux is trying to make history. The Florida Marlins are trying to make the playoffs.

Maddux looks to become the first pitcher in major league history to win at least 15 games in 16 straight seasons, as the Braves face the Marlins in the third game of their series at Turner Field.

Maddux, the first pitcher to win four straight Cy Young Awards, began his streak in 1988, when he went 18-8 for the Chicago Cubs. He has maintained it despite a strike that wiped out parts of the 1994 and ’95 seasons. Cy Young is the only other pitcher to do it 15 years in a row.

Maddux was in position to break the tie with Young on Tuesday night, but the Braves bullpen blew a three-run lead in a 5-4, 10-inning loss to Montreal.

In his second attempt for No. 15, Maddux allowed one run and four hits in seven innings. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth with the Braves leading 2-1.

The veteran right-hander says personal milestones are not the focus.

“It’s not about me or any other one guy here,” Maddux said. “It’s about what we do in the next two weeks to get ready for the postseason—period.”

Atlanta clinched the NL East—their 12th straight division title—on Thursday.

The Marlins are just trying to get to the playoffs, and inched closer to that goal on Saturday as they regained the NL wild-card lead when rookie Miguel Cabrera’s homer in the 11th inning gave the team a 6-5 win.

The Marlins rebounded after blowing a four-run lead, and pulled a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies, who lost 2-0 to the Cincinnati Reds.

“Of course we knew they lost,” Florida’s Juan Pierre said. “We knew we had to win regardless. Every game counts right now.”

STANDINGS: Marlins - 2nd place, 10 1/2 GB, NL East. Braves - 1st place, NL East.

MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Carl Pavano (11-12, 4.14 ERA). Pavano was hit hard in his last start on Tuesday, allowing six runs and nine hits over 6 1-3 innings of a 14-0 defeat at Philadelphia. It was the third straight start in which he failed to register a decision. Pavano is 2-2 with a 5.26 ERA in six career starts against Atlanta.

BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Maddux (14-11, 4.06 ERA). The right-hander has made 33 career starts against Florida, going 17-9 with a 2.67 ERA.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - 2B Luis Castillo, .316 avg. and 95 runs; Mike Lowell, 32 HRs and 105 RBIs; Pierre, 61 SBs. Braves - Gary Sheffield, .330 avg. and 124 RBIs; Javy Lopez, 42 HRs; Rafael Furcal, 124 runs and 25 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Marlins, 9-8.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - 2B Castillo is hitting .163 (7-for-43) in his career against RHP Maddux. … Called up from Double-A Carolina on June 20, INF Cabrera is batting .350 (21-for-60) with three home runs, nine doubles and 14 RBIs in September. … OF Pierre is hitting .357 (5-for-14) in his career against RHP Maddux. Braves - RHP John Smoltz returned from the disabled list Saturday night and retired the only Florida Marlins batter he faced in the ninth inning. Smoltz had been on the disabled list since Aug. 27 with tendinitis in his right elbow, and he hadn’t pitched since Aug. 23. … C Lopez hit his 42nd homer of the season—and 41st as a catcher in Saturday’s loss. That matched the major league record for catchers set by Todd Hundley of the New York Mets in 1996. … RHP Kevin Gryboski was also activated on Saturday night. He’s been out since Aug. 28 with a small tear in his right labrum, a piece of cartilage that stabilizes the shoulder. In 61 games, he’s 6-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 41 2-3 innings.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 37-42 on the road; Braves - 52-25 at home.

INJURIES: Marlins - 3B Mike Lowell (thumb), 15-day DL; LHP Armando Almanza (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendicitis), 60-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (elbow), 60-day DL. Braves - OF Damon Hollins (thumb), 15-day DL; RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Pavano Min vs. G. Maddux LAD
12-13 Record 16-11
4.30 ERA 3.96
133 K 124
49 BB 33
1.26 WHIP 1.18