The 40-year-old Maddux couldn’t get out of the fourth inning Monday night, when the defending NL West champs won their ninth straight game, 8-3 over the reeling Chicago Cubs.
“Greg Maddux is Greg Maddux—he’s a great pitcher,” Padres leadoff batter Dave Roberts said. “You don’t go in there expecting to score a lot of runs against him, especially the way he started the season. We just put some hits together and it worked out for us tonight.”
The Padres are on their longest winning streak since setting the club record with 14 straight in 1999. They are two games above .500 (17-15) for the first time this year.
San Diego’s top three batters had a monster night, much of it coming off Maddux. Roberts had three hits, three stolen bases and scored four runs, while Cameron and Brian Giles each finished with three hits and three RBIs.
Right-hander Chris Young wrapped up the four-game sweep by snapping his personal two-game losing streak.
Maddux didn’t waste much time trying to analyze this one.
“I threw too many pitches over the middle of the plate,” said the four-time Cy Young winner, who has made a career of painting the corners.
“The easiest way to win a game is to shut the other team down, and I didn’t do it,” he said. “You’d like to come in and control the first five or six innings and see what happens from there. I never gave us a chance.”
Maddux (5-2) lost his second straight start after beginning the season 5-0 for the first time in his illustrious career. He allowed seven runs and nine hits in 3 2-3 innings while striking out four and walking two.
Roberts, Cameron and Giles each had two hits off Maddux. Roberts scored three runs, Cameron had two and Giles knocked in two runs while Maddux was still in the game.
“It took us a little bit longer than we had hoped to come to fruition, but it’s here right now and hopefully we can ride this out,” Roberts said.
A win would have tied Maddux with Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton for 13th on the all-time victories list with 324. Instead, Maddux had his shortest start since he went two innings against Florida on April 5, 2003. He also went 3 2-3 innings last June 15, also against Florida.
Maddux trailed 3-1 going into the Padres’ fourth. With one out, Greene hit a towering shot into the balcony on the second floor of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse just beyond the left-field corner at Petco Park. It was the team-high sixth homer for the shortstop, who pulled out of a slump on Sunday by going 4-for-4 with four RBIs.
Adrian Gonzalez singled and was sacrificed to second by Young, Roberts singled and stole second, and Cameron drove in both with a double down the left-field line. Giles doubled in Cameron to make it 7-1, and that was it for Maddux.
“His location was off tonight,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “We got beat by a hot team. They were hitting bloopers. They were hitting everything. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it, you just ride it out.”
Said Padres manager Bruce Bochy: “He was pitching up more than I’ve seen. He wasn’t sharp with his command.”
San Diego took a 2-0 lead in the first when the first three Padres reached base, with Cameron and Giles hitting RBI singles.
Roberts tripled with one out in the third. With two outs, Giles was intentionally walked to get to Mike Piazza, who singled to center to score Roberts.
Young (3-2) went 6 2-3 innings, allowing three runs and eight hits. He struck out three and walked two.
Greene made a nice diving stop of Ramirez’s grounder in the eighth and flipped the ball with his glove to 2B Barfield to start a double play. … Despite the Padres’ winning streak and Maddux’s appearance, the game drew only 24,139 fans. … Maddux is 23-15 with a 3.15 ERA against the Padres in 42 career starts. … The Cubs outrighted OF Michael Restovich to Triple-A Iowa and recalled INF Ryan Theriot from Iowa. Restovich was hitting .167 in 10 games. … The Padres got their first-ever four-game sweep of the Cubs in San Diego. … Cameron was back in the lineup after suffering from flu-like symptoms on Sunday.