With his back and legs stiffening after he came back to pitch following a 61-minute rain delay, Maddux lasted 5 2/3 innings Tuesday night and got his first victory in a month as the Cubs used four RBI from Jacque Jones to beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-3.
"Probably just the hour delay and then the bullpen [warmup] and the fifth inning. I kind of never really got loose," Maddux said after his 324th career win tied him with Don Sutton and Nolan Ryan for 13th place on the career list.
"Instead of getting looser, it was getting tighter," he said. "I've lost a lot of games trying to stay in them. There is a time to stay in games and a time to put your ego aside."
Maddux (6-4), who started 5-0 and then lost his next four decisions, got his first victory since April 28. He gave up seven hits and three runs -- five hits and two runs coming after the delay.
"Probably just from the layoff," Maddux said. "I don't know. Who knows? I'll be all right."
The delay also affected Reds starter Brandon Claussen (3-6). He walked the first two batters after the rain delay to load the bases and Jones lined a two-out double into the corner in right to clear the bases and give the Cubs the lead. Henry Blanco dropped an RBI single into shallow center to score Jones for a 4-1 lead.
"I don't know what it was," Claussen said. "I just could not find the strike zone. I needed one more out, but I failed to get the job done. The first three innings I was pounding the strike zone. Somewhere in that hour something happened. I just got out of rhythm."
Jones added a solo homer in the eighth, making up for a wild throw in the second when the Reds took an early 1-0 lead.
"I've made some mistakes and I never ran away from them. I'm just trying to stay positive," said Jones, who has been the target of boos since joining the Cubs this season. "It hasn't been pretty for our team and it hasn't been pretty for me at some points of the season, but we just got to keep going."
That's what the 40-year-old Maddux plans to do, as well, after tying Sutton and Ryan.
"I mean it's cool. It's an honor and it's a privilege," Maddux said. "You feel lucky to be able to play the game as long as I have."
Ken Griffey Jr.'s single, a double by Adam Dunn and an RBI grounder by Austin Kearns got Cincinnati within three in the sixth. After the Reds scored, Chicago trainer Mark O'Neal and pitching coach Larry Rothschild went to the mound to check on Maddux, who stayed in and then gave up an RBI single to Valentin.
After another consultation at the mound, this one involving manager Dusty Baker, Maddux left in favor of David Aardsma, who got the final out.
Claussen pitched five innings, allowing six hits and five runs -- four earned.
The Cubs added two in the sixth off Rick White on Aramis Ramirez's single, Todd Walker's RBI double and a throwing error by Reds third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who slipped fielding Ronny Cedeno's bunt and threw it past first for a two-base error.
Jones added a solo homer, his eighth, in the eighth.
The Reds scored first in the second inning. Dunn led with a double and scored two outs later when Encarnacion singled and Jones unleashed a throw from right field that sailed to the screen.
Maddux showed why he is a 15-time Gold Glove winner, grabbing three comebackers in the first two innings and stopping Griffey's hard smash up the middle in the fourth before throwing him out.
"Good hops, man," Maddux said. "Everyone was right there. One of those things."
It was hot and humid during batting practice before thunderstorms dropped the game-time temperature of 80 to 71 with a cool breeze blowing in. Even after the game resumed, lightning could be seen raging in the sky north of the ballpark. ... Claussen has lost four of his last five decisions. ... Maddux is 20-16 lifetime against the Reds. ... Maddux is 4-0 in five starts at Wrigley Field this season.