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Maddux last pitched against Atlanta in 1992

CHICAGO (AP) -- Greg Maddux beat the Atlanta Braves and then,
almost longingly, wished them good luck in the playoffs.

For the first time in more than a decade, the ex-Braves star
will be sitting out the postseason. And beating his former team in
a meaningless regular-season finale was no consolation.

"It was embarrassing walking out on the field today. We won,
but big deal," Maddux said Sunday after getting the victory for
the Chicago Cubs in their 10-8 victory over the NL East-champion
Braves.

"It's just kind of a big letdown after the last couple of days.
It was tough to go out there. It really should have mattered and it
didn't," Maddux added.

The Cubs led the wild-card race with nine games left, then lost
seven of eight in a dramatic collapse before being eliminated
Saturday.

Atlanta earlier wrapped up its 13th straight division title and
will face Houston in the first round Wednesday with Jaret Wright
starting the opener for the Braves, probably against Roger Clemens.

"You know you wish the Braves well. They're a great
organization and I enjoyed every day I played over there," Maddux
said.

Facing the Braves for the first time since July 10, 1992, the
last year of his first stint with the Cubs and his first Cy Young
Award season, Maddux worked six innings and gave up a pair of
homers to Charles Thomas while yielding six runs.

Maddux (16-11) spent 11 seasons with the Braves, going to the
postseason every time and winning three more Cy Youngs.

"I think this team was just as good as all the teams I have
been on in the past with Atlanta," Maddux said of the Cubs. "This
team was legit.

"It was ours to take and we didn't take it. We were in the
driver's seat and it didn't work out for us."

Maddux rejoined the Cubs as free agent in the offseason and
although he's given up a career-high 35 homers, got his 300th
victory and also ran up 15 wins for a major league-record 17th
straight season.

Maddux now has 305 victories, 194 with the Braves and 111 for
the Cubs.

The Braves didn't start many of their regulars Sunday. Chipper
Jones didn't play after being hit in the right hand with a pitch
Saturday.

"Chipper will be fine. He's not OK, but he will be OK," Braves
manager Bobby Cox said.

Jones missed a chance to extend his streak of 100-RBI seasons to
nine, finishing with 96.

The Braves were still unsure if projected Game 2 starter John
Thomson would be able to go after leaving Saturday's outing after
three innings because of a pulled muscle in his side.

"I don't know. He's got to throw off the mound first," Cox
added. Mike Hampton is slated to go in Game 3 against the Astros,
who clinched the wild card Sunday by beating the Rockies.

Moises Alou, playing perhaps his final game for the Cubs, hit a
two-run homer in the first, his career-best 39th of the season.
Rookie Jason Dubois added a two-run triple and scored on Paul
Byrd's wild pitch for a 5-0 lead.

Byrd (8-7) lasted just four innings, giving up nine hits and
nine runs, including three homers on a day when the wind was
blowing out at 17 mph.

"That was not what I was looking for to finish the season,"
Byrd said. "One of those days where if the ball was elevated, it
was going to leave the park."

Thomas hit a three-run shot off Maddux in the second following
singles by Julio Franco and Eli Marrero.

Dubois hit his first major league homer, a two-run shot in the
third, Mark Grudzielanek added a solo shot in the fourth and Aramis
Ramirez had a wind-blown RBI double to make it 9-4.

Thomas had a two-run shot off Maddux in the sixth, pinch-hitter
Adam LaRoche homered off Ryan Dempster in the seventh, and Dewayne
Wise went deep off Kent Mercker in the eighth.

Game notes
Dubois started in place of Sammy Sosa, who didn't arrive in
the clubhouse until 70 minutes before the first pitch. Manager
Dusty Baker said Sosa was "ailing" and was not on the bench
during the game. Sosa apparently left the game early and Baker was
not happy about it. "I don't know when he left. He didn't have
permission," Baker said. "I don't know why. There's no tension
between us. He asked for the day off yesterday. He said he was
hurting." ... Chip Caray, the Cubs' TV play-by-play announcer the
last seven years, is leaving for a similar job with the Braves,
where he will join his dad, Skip Caray. There was no immediate word
if Cubs color analyst Steve Stone, whose criticism of Baker led to
a meeting with team officials this week, will be retained.