Series: Game 3 of 3

Chi Cubs won 3-0

Game 1: Tuesday, September 21
Chi Cubs5Final
in 10
Game 2: Wednesday, September 22
Chi Cubs1Final
Game 3: Thursday, September 23
Chi Cubs6Final

Cubs 6

(86-66, 43-34 away)

Pirates 3

(68-84, 38-39 home)

    12:35 PM ET, September 23, 2004

    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

    123456789 R H E
    CHC 040001001 6 8 0
    PIT 020001000 3 9 2

    W: G. Maddux (15-10)

    L: N. Figueroa (0-3)

    S: L. Hawkins (23)

    Cubs polish off third sweep of Pirates

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Greg Maddux reached 15 wins for a record 17th consecutive season. Getting to 200 innings made him just as happy,

    "You always have your goals," Maddux said Thursday after leading the Chicago Cubs over the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3. "One of them is always to win 20. but you always have a goal to pitch 200 innings. If you can go out there and get your 200 innings, you have to be doing something right."

    Greg Maddux

    Maddux also hit a two-run single in a four-run second inning for the Cubs, who completed their third series sweep of the Pirates this year. Maddux raised his total to 201 2/3 innings, reaching 200 for the 16th time in 17 years -- he missed by two-thirds of an inning in 2002.

    Unless Maddux pitched a combined 400 innings or more in 2004 and 2005, the Cubs have the right to void his $9 million salary in 2006.

    "I think 200 innings for me personally means more than the wins," Maddux said, "because you can't control the wins and losses as much as you can control showing up every fifth day and getting your 200 innings.

    Chicago, which began the day a half-game behind San Francisco in the NL wild-card race, is 7-2 on its trip following the three victories in Pittsburgh. Chicago has won 12 of 15.

    "I think we should have been doing this all year," reliever Kent Mercker said. "Better late than never, I guess."

    The Cubs headed to New York for a three-game series against the Mets, then finish the season at home with four games against Cincinnati and three against Atlanta.

    Maddux (15-10) improved to 3-1 against Pittsburgh this season, allowing three runs and seven hits in six innings with no walks and six strikeouts. Maddux, 20th on the career wins list with 304, last year surpassed Cy Young's 15 consecutive 15-win seasons.

    "It's unbelievable," Cubs manger Dusty Baker said. "He's been great for us, and I'm glad we have him here."

    Maddux retired 11 consecutive batters before Jack Wilson's leadoff single in the sixth. Kyle Farnsworth pitched one inning, and Mercker got the final out of the eighth after Ryan Dempster put two runners on. LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save in 30 chances.

    Nelson Figueroa (0-3) gave up four runs and five hits in two innings for Pittsburgh, which has lost eight of 10. Figueroa, who has an 8.25 ERA in 12 innings over three starts, started in place of rookie John Van Benschoten, sidelined by stiffness in his right shoulder.

    Chicago took a 4-0 lead in the second. Sammy Sosa walked leading off, Nomar Garciaparra doubled, Mark Grudzielanek hit an RBI single and Paul Bako doubled in a run before Maddux's single. Maddux, batting .154 (10-for-65) this season, had the ninth multiple-RBI game of his career.

    "It was just a ground ball with the infield in," Maddux said. "Sometimes you don't have to be good to have success."

    Craig Wilson hit a two-run homer in the bottom half but Sosa, in a 4-for-27 slide, made it 5-2 in the sixth with an RBI single off Ian Snell. Ty Wigginton had an RBI single in the sixth, and Grudzielanek doubled in an unearned run in the ninth against Brian Meadows after Garciaparra reached on Wigginton's error at third.

    Pittsburgh went 5-13 against the Cubs and 5-12 against both St. Louis and Houston, the top teams in the NL Central.

    "Those teams have three-to-five Hall of Famers," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We have guys trying to get three to five years in."

    Game notes

    The Cubs have swept 10 series this year. ... Craig Wilson struck out twice, raising his total to 160, three short of the Pirates season record set by Donn Clendenon in 1968. ... McClendon said Snell may make his first major league start Tuesday in Philadelphia. That's the next time Van Benschoten's spot in the rotation comes up.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press