Maddux breaks desert slump, extends walkless streak in Padres’ 10-2 win over Diamondbacks

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PHOENIX (AP)—Greg Maddux no longer has to explain his drought in the desert.

The future Hall of Famer won for the first time in Phoenix and extended his streak without a walk to 49 1-3 innings over seven starts in leading the San Diego Padres over the Arizona Diamondbacks10-2 on Monday.

Maddux has long downplayed his struggles at Chase Field. And he didn’t make a big deal of his first win in 11 career starts in the domed downtown ballpark.

“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.”

Brian Giles hit two of the Padres’ five home runs, and San Diego opened a one-game lead over slumping Arizona, its biggest margin in the NL West since the All-Star break.

Geoff Blum, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff also homered for the Padres, who have beaten the Diamondbacks four times in five games over the last eight days. San Diego trailed Arizona by five games on Aug. 18.

“It’s a sprint now to the end,” said Giles, who has 10 homers. “We still want to continue to try to win series, and the first game of a series is always big.”

Eric Byrnes homered and tripled for the Diamondbacks, who have lost 10 of 15.

With first place on the line, the Padres sent Maddux to the mound in his 702nd start. Arizona countered with Micah Owings, who made his 24th.

The difference in experience was telling.

“We have guys who have been into Septembers before,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. “Obviously, it’s a real nice feeling to have a guy like Greg Maddux starting a game for you.”

Showing pinpoint control, Maddux (11-9) kept the free-swinging Diamondbacks off balance all day. He gave up two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out five. Maddux hasn’t issued a base on balls to 191 batters since he walked Houston pitcher Roy Oswalt in the second inning on July 28 at Houston.

Maddux is 344-212. He improved to 2-10 against the Diamondbacks—and that doesn’t include two losses in the 2001 NL championship series while with Atlanta.

Maddux entered 0-6 with a 5.67 ERA in Chase Field.

“When you’ve got 340-something wins, to not have one here in this park, it’s incredible to me,” Black said. “I’ve only seen him pitch here twice, but he’s such a great pitcher it’s hard for me to believe. I don’t know whether the lack of success here in this park weighs on him. If it did, it didn’t show today.”

The Diamondbacks have jumped on Maddux in the past, but they appeared tentative on Monday.

“I felt like we were a little flat early today, but we’ve responded from games like that in the past,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “So it wasn’t our best game. It’s not how we wanted to start against those guys.”

The Diamondbacks fell behind 5-0 in the third inning. Owings (6-8) faced 14 Padres and gave up four hits—all home runs.

Giles hit Owings’ second pitch of the game 378 feet into the right-field seats for his second career leadoff homer.

In the second, Blum homered into the same area with a man on to give the Padres a 3-0 lead.

Leading off the third, Giles hit Owing’s first pitch 427 feet into the pool beyond the right-center field fence. It was Giles’ third multihomer game this year and the 19th of his career.

Two outs later, Gonzalez hit a 438-foot shot onto a walkway 20 feet above center field, giving San Diego a 5-0 lead. Gonzalez added a two-run single in the ninth.

Owings lasted only three innings, giving up five runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out four.

“I wasn’t as sharp as I could have been,” Owings said.

The young Diamondbacks, who have shown resilience all season, denied that they’re starting to feel the pressure of the pennant race.

“Tomorrow’s a new day,” Owings said. “This team is not going to drag and think about it too much. We’ve got some games left. If it was the last game of the season, then we could kick ourselves, but this team will bounce back.”

Notes

Maddux set the NL record with 72 1-3 innings without a free pass in 2001—a streak that ended with an intentional walk. Bill Fischer set the major league mark of 84 1-3 inning with the Kansas City Athletics in 1962. … The Padres haven’t announced a starter for Wednesday’s series finale, but Black said he’s considering using RHP Jake Peavy on three days’ rest. … By odd coincidence, the game between division leaders wasn’t televised in either city. … Arizona LHP Bill Murphy made his major league debut in the eighth and was roughed up for three runs on three hits in 1 2-3 innings. … Owings doubled in the third to raise his batting average to .294. He has four homers, three doubles and a triple.

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