MIAMI (AP)—Less than two hours after Greg Maddux earned his 300th victory, Jack McKeon notched No. 900.
The Florida Marlins manager reached the milestone Saturday when his team beat the slumping Milwaukee Brewers 5-0. Jeff Conine hit a grand slam, and Ismael Valdez pitched six shutout innings to win his debut with the Marlins.
While plenty of fanfare accompanied Maddux’s much rarer achievement with the Chicago Cubs, McKeon settled for a game ball.
“I didn’t want to take any of his thunder away,” McKeon said with a laugh. “But I can always remember this day—I got mine the same day he got his.”
At 900-836, McKeon became the seventh active manager to reach the victory plateau.
“I’d like to get 900 more, but I don’t think I can last that long,” said McKeon, 73. “If you want to give me the Yankee club for about seven years … “
For now, McKeon is happy just to have his Marlins one game above .500 as they try to stay in the race for a playoff berth.
Valdez (10-6), acquired a week ago in a trade with San Diego, allowed two hits and walked three. The outing was the longest in his past eight starts, and he reached double figures in victories for the first time since 1998.
“It’s good always to start with the right foot with a new team and get a win,” Valdez said.
The right-hander extended his streak of shutout innings against the Brewers to 15 in a row, and he improved to 3-0 against them this year with an ERA of 0.86.
“He gives you pitches to hit,” said Milwaukee’s Lyle Overbay, who went 0-for-3. “But we’re not taking advantage of them.”
Valdez said he strained his left Achilles’ tendon in the sixth inning but expects to make his next scheduled start Friday at Milwaukee.
“We’re all disappointed with the offense, the way we haven’t scored,” manager Ned Yost said.
Conine put Florida ahead 4-0 in the first inning against Wes Obermueller (3-6), who was recalled Friday from Triple-A Indianapolis and retired only three batters.
“I dug the team in a hole,” Obermueller said. “This is not the way I pitch. It’s not me.”
Milwaukee has lost a season-high five consecutive games and 15 of their last 19 to fall seven below .500 for the first time this season.
Conine followed with his ninth homer. It was his second grand slam in the past month, and the seventh of his career.
Obermueller was lifted after loading the bases again in the second. Matt Wise came on, pitched out of the jam and allowed only one hit in five innings.
The Brewers won the first 12 games in the series beginning in 1998, but the Marlins lead 25-23. … Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell, who scored the winning run in the 1997 World Series for Florida, became a target of playful hoots for overzealous baserunning. He took off from first base when Ben Grieve hit a ball barely foul, and unaware of the call, Counsell sprinted all the way home. That prompted a chant of “Run, run, run!” from the amused crowd. … Conine started a nifty 3-6-1 double play from first base.