“I didn’t talk about pitching as much as I would have liked to, I know that, but I’ve always respected what he’s done,” Maddux said. “He did it in the American League, and that’s a lot tougher over there. I think everybody knows that. But I’ve always considered him the best in the game because of the way he threw a baseball, how he set up hitters and how he competed.”
Maddux (7-11) allowed two runs and six hits, struck out four and walked none. It was the four-time Cy Young winner’s third start with the Dodgers since the Padres traded him back to Los Angeles on Aug. 19, after Brad Penny went on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.
Maddux, an eight-time All-Star, has made 736 starts compared to 707 by Clemens—a seven-time Cy Young winner and 11-time All-Star—and his 225 losses are 41 more than the Rocket had during his 24-year career.
“I know when interleague first started, I made sure I watched his games,” said Maddux, who has spent his entire career in the NL. “I think we pitch a lot alike. He just did it a lot faster and at higher speeds. For the most part, we do a lot of things the same. He just did it at 95 (mph), while I’ve been doing it at 85.”
The 42-year-old Maddux has 109 complete games, 35 shutouts, 3,361 strikeouts and a 3.15 career ERA over 23 seasons. Clemens had a 3.12 lifetime ERA with 118 complete games, 46 shutouts and 4,672 strikeouts, which is third on the all-time list.
“Roger obviously was blessed with more explosive stuff,” said Joe Torre, the only man to manage both Maddux and Clemens. “When I came up as a 20-year-old kid with the Braves and Warren Spahn was in his 40s, he told me: `Hitting is timing, and a pitcher’s job is to upset that timing.’ And that’s what Greg’s all about. He just seems to never beat himself.
“Watching him pitch, I’ve admired what he’s done,” Torre added. “He has never been overpowering, but he’s always managed to keep the game at a manageable speed for himself. And when other guys maybe rear back and throw harder, he goes the other way. He tries to do it with finesse and feel, really plays on the hitter’s emotion.”
Maddux was 6-9 with a 3.99 ERA in 26 starts for San Diego this season, including a 14-game winless streak in which he was 0-5 with a a 4.48 ERA.
“I think more than anything, it was probably run support. He was pitching on the wrong nights,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “We just didn’t score a lot of runs when he was out there, but he pitched well enough to win the majority of those games for us. I think I can echo what every other manager who’s had him has probably said about him: He was great when he was here.”
In his first two starts after returning to the Dodgers, Maddux gave up nine runs and 17 hits in road losses to Philadelphia and Washington.
Chris Young (4-5) gave up four runs and six hits in five innings after being activated from the disabled list. The right-hander hadn’t pitched since Aug. 10 at Colorado, when he left after four innings with a strain in his forearm.
“It was really nice to be back out there. I missed it,” Young said. “Even though we didn’t win, it was still fun going out there and competing. I was a little bit rusty.”
The Dodgers, who trail Arizona by 2 1/2 games in the NL West, took a 3-1 lead in the second on a bloop RBI double by Angel Berroa and a run-scoring single by Maddux—his 84th career RBI and third this season.
Casey Blake made it 4-1 in the third with his 18th homer and seventh since coming to the Dodgers in a trade with Cleveland on July 26. Manny Ramirez added a sacrifice fly in the seventh for his 26th RBI in 30 games with Los Angeles.
San Diego second baseman Matt Antonelli, recalled from Triple-A Portland on Monday, started and went 1-for-4 in his major league debut with a single in his first plate appearance.
Maddux, just 15 2-3 innings shy of 5,000, is one of five pitchers with more than 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks (997). The others are Ferguson Jenkins, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Curt Schilling. … LHP Wade LeBlanc will make his big league debut Wednesday night, becoming the 13th Padre to do so—three fewer than the club record set in 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … Padres CF Jody Gerut missed his fourth straight game. He took swings in the cage for the first time since last Wednesday, when he sprained the middle finger on his left hand while stealing a base and finished the game.