Maddux needed just 92 pitches over 2 hours, 15 minutes to throw a four-hit, complete game for his 298th career win Thursday, and his Chicago teammates hit four homers in the Cubs’ 13-2 win.
“Runs, man. Runs are a a beautiful thing,” Maddux said in his typically understated fashion.
“When you get a lead like that, it changes the way the game is played.”
Maddux (9-7) pitched his second straight complete game and 105th of his career. It was the first time he pitched back-to-back complete games since Sept. 7 and 13, 2000, when he went the distance against the Diamondbacks and Marlins while with the Braves.
“I’ve never really been that big on complete games. When you have as many runs and you are playing as many days as we are in a row, it’s important to pitch that extra inning,” he said.
“I think we have good genes. With Maddux, there are a couple of pitchers in his family and in the Alou family there a couple of outfielders,” Alou said.
“It’s a matter of having some pride. You try to play at a top level. It’s something Maddux and I have been doing throughout our careers.”
Maddux walked none and struck out six. The only hitter to give him much trouble was Reds catcher Javier Valentin, who entered the game batting .182 but homered twice, solo shots in the third and fifth innings.
“That was my first time. I had seen him on TV,” Valentin said of Maddux. “He’s not a power guy, he’s not going to strike you out. You have to be patient and I was able to hit the ball hard twice.”
But Valentin was impressed with what he saw.
“We have guys who hit it out of the park and that’s why he kept the ball down and in. That’s how he pitches, especially in this slow grass. And he made some pretty good plays on the mound—that’s why he’s still in the game,” Valentin said.
Alou hit a solo homer in the second and a two-run shot in the third, giving him 24 for the season and five in his last nine games. Grudzielanek had a three-run homer in the fourth off Cory Lidle, and Ramirez hit a grand slam off Ryan Wagner to make it 12-2 in the sixth.
Sammy Sosa had an RBI single in the eighth to make it 13-2.
Maddux, who shut the Brewers out in his previous start, will get a chance for No. 299 next week at Miller Park. If he wins there, his first shot at 300 would probably be Aug. 1 at Wrigley Field against the Phillies.
Maddux was not ready to talk about the milestone, saying there are more important issues.
“Really, it’s not about me. It’s about trying to get to the postseason and having another shot at getting a ring,” he said.
“Whatever I do doesn’t matter if we do well as a team. I have a World Series ring and that’s pretty special. That’s the nicest thing I’ve ever received in baseball. And I want to get a chance at another one.”
Lidle and both benches were warned in the fifth inning after he threw a curveball that didn’t break and it went over Alou’s head at the plate. But when Ryan Wagner hit Lee with a high pitch in the sixth to load the bases, he remained in the game and Ramirez followed with his fourth career grand slam … Manager Dusty Baker said a decision on whether Mark Prior makes his Sunday start will probably be made in Philadelphia on Friday after he throws in the bullpen. Prior missed his previous start with a tender elbow but has had no problems after throwing a five-inning simulated game Tuesday. … Alou had the 25th multihomer game of his career. Valentin’s was his first. … Maddux has now surrendered 22 homers, just two fewer than all last season.