PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- As far as Greg Maddux is concerned, it's all a matter of location.
Maddux was hit hard for the third straight start, and Pat Burrell and Jim Thome each homered twice and drove in five runs to lead the Philadelphia Phillies over the Atlanta Braves 16-2 Wednesday night.
"My location is terrible,'' Maddux said. "When that happens, it's tough to pitch. I feel bad for the guys behind me.''
Maddux (0-3) is off to his worst start since 1989, when he also lost his first three decisions for the Chicago Cubs.
The four-time Cy Young winner has now allowed 18 earned runs and
30 hits in 14 2/3 innings, leaving him with an 11.05 ERA. In his last outing, the Marlins pounded him 17-1 Saturday night.
Maddux was touched for 10 runs, seven earned, and 12 hits in 5
2/3 innings. He struck out seven, but walked three and made a
throwing error, a rare mistake for the Gold Glover.
"Physically I feel fine,'' added Maddux. "I'm just not throwing the ball where I'm trying to throw it and they're not missing.''
Braves manager Bobby Cox didn't appear to be too concerned about his ace.
"Maddux made a tremendous amount of great pitches,'' Cox
explained. "He made some bad ones.''
Phillies manager Larry Bowa agreed with Cox.
"(Maddux) is going to be all right,'' Bowa said. "He had a lot
of decent pitches. He had great movement. It was just his
Burrell homered twice off Maddux. Thome hit his first two home
runs for the Phillies, connecting both times off rookie reliever
"It was a good game for our offense,'' Burrell said. "We had
opportunities to score, we had a lot of guys on base and we
capitalized on them. We were in a position to do that because our
starting pitcher came out and did so well.''
Vicente Padilla (1-1) allowed 10 hits in seven innings, fanned nine and didn't walk a batter. The only runs against him came on Gary Sheffield's RBI doubled in the third and Robert Fick's RBI single in the seventh.
The Phillies scored three runs in the first inning, all
unearned. Jimmy Rollins reached on an error by Fick at first base,
went to third on a hit-and-run single by Placido Polanco and scored
on a groundout by Bobby Abreu.
After Thome grounded out, Burrell hit a drive high and deep into
the left-center field seats for his first home run of the season.
The Phillies made it 4-0 in the second when Tomas Perez singled
and later scored on a single by Rollins.
Maddux then escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Thome,
but allowed two more runs in the fourth on an RBI double by
Rollins, who scored on a single by Polanco.
Burrell's second home run, a three-run shot, came in the sixth
after singles by Polanco and Abreu. Mike Lieberthal then singled,
chasing Maddux, who was charged with his 10th run when relief
pitcher Jung Bong committed a balk.
Thome broke an 0-for-13 rut with a three-run homer to deep
left-center in the seventh. The Phillies' big offseason
acquisition, who left Cleveland as a free agent after hitting a
team-record 52 home runs, hit a two-run shot in the eighth.
"Maddux was throwing me pretty good,'' Thome said. "He had good stuff. We were swinging the bats real well and it was nice to get those (first homers) out of the way. I've just been trying to have good at-bats. I'm not really trying to hit home runs at all, just trying to have pretty solid at bats.''.
Gametime temperature was 46, much warmer than Tuesday's 37
degrees with a wind chill of 19. ... Phillies OF Jason Michaels,
who has been on the DL list with a strained oblique muscle, begins
a rehab assignment with Clearwater in the Class A Florida State on
Thursday. ... Maddux made only one error in 70 chances last season.
... Padilla allowed three runs in six innings against Florida in
his only other start.