Maddux loss makes sub-.500 record a possibility

CHICAGO (AP) -- Greg Maddux was frustrated. His streak of
non-losing seasons is in jeopardy, but he was more focused on the
pitches he left up in the strike zone.

The veteran pitched a complete game for the Chicago Cubs, but is
in danger of finishing with a losing record for the first time in
18 years after Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I'm not going to feel sorry for myself," said Maddux, who has
318 wins.

Jason Bay hit a three-run homer in the fifth and Nate McLouth
added a solo shot for Pittsburgh in the eighth.

Maddux (13-14) is scheduled to start the season finale Sunday at
Houston, and has not finished below .500 since 1987, when he was
6-14 for the Cubs. He was 15-15 in 1990.

Maddux allowed five runs and eight hits and lost for the third
time in four starts.

When asked if Maddux would start the final game, manager Dusty
Baker responded: "I got to talk to him first. I'm sure he wants to
get back to .500. I'm hoping he does. We tried everything to get
him that win tonight."

Maddux made it clear that he wanted the chance, too.

"They're still paying me, right?" he asked.

While Maddux downplayed the streak, McLouth was in awe.

"He's had a remarkable career, and that streak is just
ridiculous," he said.

Maddux, who has a vesting option for next season, has indicated
that he will be back next season. Still, fans cheered as if they
were saying goodbye when he took the mound in the ninth.

"Except for a few pitches, he pitched great," first baseman
Derrek Lee said. "We just couldn't get enough runs for him."

Bay, whose homer in the fifth gave the Pirates a 4-3 lead, had
two hits. Freddy Sanchez extended his hitting streak to 13 games
with a double and a single.

Rookie Zach Duke (7-2) allowed three runs -- one earned -- in
eight innings and snapped a two-game losing streak since returning
from the disabled list with a sprained ankle. He helped himself at
the plate with two singles.

Salomon Torres pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save.

Nomar Garciaparra went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer for the

With the Cubs ahead 3-1, Duke and Sanchez led off the fifth with
singles. After Jack Wilson struck out, Bay homered to left-center
on a 1-1 pitch to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead -- his 32nd home run
of the season and 23rd on the road.

"Anytime you're going up against a guy like that you know
you're not going to get much to hit," Bay said. "To get that, and
to finish strong, means the world to me."

McLouth added a solo shot in the eighth -- his third homer.

"I didn't get them low enough," Maddux said of the pitches hit
for home runs. "[When] you see what led up to the three-run home
run, I didn't make a good pitch to the pitcher. ... Those are the
guys you've got to get out to stay out of the big inning."

With the game tied 1-1, Cubs rookie Ryan Theriot reached on a
throwing error by the shortstop Wilson leading off the third and
moved to second on Neifi Perez's single. After Derrek Lee grounded
into a double play, Garciaparra pulled a 3-2 pitch out to left to
give the Cubs a 3-1 lead.

It was his ninth homer of the season -- each coming since
Garciaparra was activated from the disabled list Aug. 5. Batting
.157 in 51 at-bats when he tore a muscle in his left groin,
free-agent-to-be Garciaparra is 50-for-159 since his return.

Duke did not allow a runner past second after that homer.

"It took me a little while to get on track," he said. "Early
in this game, I didn't feel right. I was able to make an adjustment
in the fourth inning and just kind of cruised after that."

Game notes
Wednesday's game is the home finale for the Cubs and the
Pirates' final road game. The Cubs play a four-game series at
Houston, while the Pirates -- after a day off -- close with three at
home against Milwaukee. ... With Cubs 2B Todd Walker nursing a
strained right knee, Theriot started his first major-league game
and batted leadoff. Theriot, called up from Double-A West Tenn. on
Sept. 12, was 0-for-4 with a run.