Always known for his impeccable control, Greg Maddux is in the midst of another impressive streak.
The future Hall of Famer hasn’t allowed a walk over his last 48 1-3 innings, and will try for his fifth straight win on Saturday when the San Diego Padres continue a three-game set against the Colorado Rockies.
Maddux (11-9, 3.75 ERA) is 4-0 with a 1.97 ERA over his last five starts, beginning with a win over Colorado on Aug. 14. He hasn’t issued a walk since July 28 when he walked Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt in the second inning of a 3-1 loss.
It’s not the first time Maddux has had such a streak, having set the NL record with 72 1-3 consecutive innings without a walk in 2001. That run ended when he issued an intentional pass to Arizona’s Steve Finley.
The four-time NL Cy Young Award winner gave up two runs over 6 1-3 innings to win his last start, 10-2 at Arizona on Monday.
“It’s nice to win, especially this time of the year,” Maddux said. “Personally, yeah, I’m glad I won. I hope I win again next time.”
Maddux is 1-2 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts against the Rockies this year, including 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two outings at Coors Field. He’s 6-2 with a 5.58 ERA in 10 career starts in Colorado.
The Padres (76-64) fell two games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West after a 10-4 loss on Friday. They lead the Los Angeles Dodgers by 2 1/2 games for the wild card, while Colorado (73-67) and Philadelphia are three back.
San Diego is trying to avoid losing four straight for the first time since July 20-23. The Padres were held to two runs and five hits against nine Colorado relievers Friday.
“He got his cardio in, no doubt,” Rockies reliever Matt Herges said of manager Clint Hurdle’s frequent strolls to the mound.
Neither starter lasted past the third inning on Friday. San Diego relievers also had a busy night, working five innings and giving up five runs. The Rockies bullpen pitched 6 2-3 innings after starter Elmer Dessens left with a hamstring injury.
Colorado looks for more innings from Jeff Francis (15-6, 4.12), who tries to win his third straight start after beating San Francisco in each of his last two outings. He pitched a six-hitter in an 8-0 win on Aug. 29 and followed that by yielding three runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 7-4 victory on Monday.
Francis will tie for the NL lead in wins, and break the single-season club record for a left-hander if he can post his 16th victory Saturday. He’s tied the mark set by Shawn Estes in 2004.
“Those are bonuses,” Francis said. “Right now, we’re trying to win games.”
Francis, who earned his first major league victory against the Padres on Sept. 5, 2004, is 1-6 with a 7.40 ERA in his last eight starts against them. He’s 0-2 with an 11.15 ERA in three starts versus San Diego this year.
All of Francis’ losses have come at night, when he’s 9-6 with a 4.62 ERA in 22 starts.