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Maddux gives up nine runs in two innings

4/6/2003

ATLANTA (AP) -- After one of the poorest pitching performances of
his career, Greg Maddux couldn't wait to get back on the mound.

Off to his worst start in 14 seasons, Maddux was pounded for
three homers and nine runs in only two innings Saturday night as
the Florida Marlins routed the Atlanta Braves 17-1.

"Sure I want to get out there. Believe it or not, I'm still
looking forward to pitching again,'' Maddux said.

The four-time NL Cy Young winner won't have to wait long. With
Mike Hampton and Paul Byrd on the 15-day disabled list, Maddux will
pitch on three days of rest when he starts Wednesday night against
Philadelphia.

"He's such an artist. It's just that sometimes he doesn't throw
it exactly where he wants it,'' Florida manager Jeff Torborg said.

"My pitch selection was terrible. My location was terrible,''
Maddux said. "They hit every mistake I made and hit them hard ...
even some of the outs were hit hard.''

The Marlins got 23 hits and tied the team record for runs, set
on Sept. 17, 1995 against Colorado. The loss was the most lopsided
for the Braves since a 17-1 defeat to Montreal on July 3, 2000.

Alex Gonzalez homered and drove in five runs with three hits.
Juan Pierre, Ivan Rodriguez, Derrek Lee, Juan Encarnacion and Todd
Hollandsworth also had three hits for Florida.

Maddux (0-2), who went 0-3 at the beginning of 1989 when he was
with the Chicago Cubs, gave up eight hits and seven earned runs. He
also was tagged for three homers in an inning for the first time in
his career.

Embarrassed?

"Yeah. Big time. I pitched crummy in the first inning and
crummier the next inning,'' he said.

Maddux has an 11.00 ERA after two starts. He also lost on
opening day, giving up nine hits and four earned runs in seven
innings against Montreal.

The Marlins batted around in each of the first two innings
against Maddux. Rodriguez hit a solo homer, Mike Lowell had a
two-run shot and Gonzalez capped a six-run second inning off Maddux
with a three-run homer.

Gonzalez's third homer in two games and fourth this season made
it 9-0.

"I think Maddux just left the ball up more than he wanted to,''
Lowell said. "We hit the ball hard, but I also think we found a
lot of holes. Things just went our way.''

It was only the third time in his career that Maddux had given
up three home runs in a game. The others were Aug. 23, 1998, in a
12-7 win over Los Angeles, and Sept. 2, 1998, in a 4-2 loss to
Houston.

"I've played against him for years. It happens to the best of
them,'' Hollandsworth said. "We got to him early. Some errors,
some mistakes. Next thing you know, we were putting up some big
numbers.''

The Marlins scored three runs in the first -- on an RBI single by
Andy Fox and a two-run single by Encarnacion -- and left the bases
loaded. Two of the runs were unearned, on consecutive errors by
third baseman Vinny Castilla and Maddux, who has won 13 consecutive
Gold Glove awards.

The Marlins hit four home runs in the series opener Friday night
-- two by Gonzalez and one each by Lowell and Encarnacion -- but the
Braves won 12-7.

Florida starter Josh Beckett (1-1) went six innings. The
right-hander gave up six hits, one run, walked three and struck out
nine. He also got his first career RBI with a sixth-inning single.

The Braves' run came in the third on an RBI single by Gary
Sheffield.

Braves manager Bobby Cox took the loss in stride.

"You'd better forget it, or you'll never go to sleep,'' he
said.

Game notes
The five RBI by Gonzalez matched his career high. He also
did it on July 14, 2000 at Philadelphia. ... Everyone in Florida's
starting lineup had at least one hit and scored a run. ... Atlanta
RHP Paul Byrd, on the 15-day DL with a sore elbow, pitched 4 1/3
innings with Double-A Greenville on Saturday night against
Birmingham. He gave up eight hits, six runs -- four earned -- walked
one and struck out three. If healthy, Byrd could start Thursday
against Philadelphia.