MILWAUKEE (AP) -- If Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker really
wants to know why Greg Maddux's quest for 300 wins has been so
quiet, all he has to do is listen to his selfless right-hander.
After beating the Milwaukee Brewers 7-1 Tuesday night for his
299th career victory, Maddux shied away from the attention that
will accompany his attempt to join the exclusive club.
Greg Maddux usually knows every hitch, loop or hole in each hitter he faces.
"It's not about me. It's about us doing what we can to get into
the postseason," Maddux said. "Let's just stay focused on what we
have to do as a team. The last thing that I want to be is just any
kind of distraction."Maddux will try to become the 22nd pitcher in major league
history to win 300 games when he faces the Phillies at Wrigley
Field on Sunday. He would be the first National Leaguer to
accomplish the feat since Philadelphia's Steve Carlton on Sept. 23,
1983.Maddux isn't thinking about history, but about October."I really believe that it's not about me, OK? I mean, I believe
that two or three years from now, if I was to win 300 games, I'd be
the only one happy about it. I think that if we were to do well in
the postseason I would think 10 years from now people would still
be happy about that," Maddux said."I feel like eventually I'm going to get there, but the main
goal is to still be playing in October."Before the game, Baker mentioned the lack of hoopla surrounding
Maddux's rather quiet quest."It's been one of the quietest approaching 300s that I've ever
seen," Baker said. "I know when Roger [Clemens] was approaching
300 last year in New York, that was like every day it was big
headlines."Baker said he's glad Maddux, who spent the best years of his
career in Atlanta, will get the chance to win his 300th at Wrigley
with the team that gave him his start in baseball."That would be great, to hopefully win 300 where he started,"
Baker said.Maddux might be downplaying it, but his teammates aren't. Todd
Walker said it will be one of his own career highlights."You think about that stuff. It's something you will always
remember. I was on the field when [Paul] Molitor hit his 3,000th
hit," Walker said. "I still remember it like it was yesterday."Maddux (10-7) gave up one earned run and four hits in a crisp,
79-pitch outing that lasted six innings at Miller Park. He walked
one and struck out six in winning his third straight start for the
first time in more than a year.Sammy Sosa homered and doubled in a run and Walker also homered
off Ben Sheets (9-8), who lost his season-high third straight game,
a stretch in which he's received just one run of support from the
Brewers' feeble offense.The Brewers (48-51) lost their season-high fifth straight game
and fell a season-high three games below .500.They usually count on their All-Star ace to halt their skids,
but Sheets got into trouble right away, allowing four hits in the
first inning.Sosa doubled home Walker, who led off the game with a double,
and scored on Derrek Lee's sharp single to make it 2-0. Even Aramis
Ramirez's double-play liner to shortstop was hit hard.Walker led off the fourth with his 12th homer, and Sosa followed
an out later with his 21st for a 4-0 lead. It was Sosa's 41st homer
off Brewers pitching and his fourth off Sheets, against whom he is
13-for-29 (.448) lifetime.Sheets gave up four earned runs on seven hits with no walks and
eight strikeouts in seven innings.The Brewers extended their slump with runners in scoring
position to 3-for-58 over their last eight games, including seven
losses. They were 0-for-3 Tuesday night."For me, an offensive slump is kind of like the flu,"
Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "It's miserable while you're
going through it, but sooner or later you get over it."Maddux, who is 9-2 in his career against Milwaukee, got into
trouble just once, when he loaded the bases in the first inning.
But he got Brady Clark looking at strike three to end the inning.Russell Branyan, acquired from Cleveland on Monday, sent
Maddux's only mistake 480 feet for a solo homer in the sixth.Branyan also made two outstanding plays at third base in place
of slumping Wes Helms."I don't really know what my role is going to be here, but it
was good to get that first hit out of the way," Branyan said.
Jon Leicester, Kent Mercker and Kyle Farnsworth combined
for three innings of scoreless relief, securing the win for Maddux.
... Maddux's last three-game winning streak came last season with
Atlanta, from July 10-22. ... Brewers 2B Junior Spivey will learn
Thursday whether he needs season-ending surgery on his left
shoulder, which he injured on a headfirst slide into first base in
Pittsburgh on July 2.