LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Forty is the new 29 for Greg Maddux.
He threw eight innings of three-hit ball in his first start
since his landmark birthday and the Chicago Cubs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 on Monday night.Adjectives like "masterful," "vintage," "phenomenal" and
"outstanding" rolled off the tongues of manager Dusty Baker and
the rest of the Cubs in describing Maddux."He's just keeping up with [Curt] Schilling. They're both
3-0," Baker said. "His main thing is strike one. When you get
strike one, then you can do a lot of things -- inside, outside, up
and down. The name of the game is control. He was great."Off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 1994, Maddux struck
out six and didn't walk a batter. He allowed three hits and a run
in six innings in his previous start last Wednesday, getting a win
over the Reds two days before he turned 40.Maddux won the last of his four Cy Young Awards in 1995, when he
was 29. He is coming off his first losing season (13-15) since
1987."I heard Julio Franco say a million times, 'Age is just a
number,'" he said. "I'm finally starting to understand what he
meant by that. I used to laugh at him 10 years ago, but I know what
he means now."
One of the fastest working pitchers in the majors, Maddux ripped
through the Dodgers' lineup in quick succession, retiring the first
nine batters he faced before giving up a leadoff single to Rafael Furcal in the fourth. The right-hander also retired the side in the
sixth, seventh and eighth."They hit everything at everybody for the most part," Maddux
said. "No cheap hits."
Maddux has a successful history against the Dodgers, allowing
three or fewer earned runs in eight of his last nine starts."Great place to pitch," he said. "A couple balls I thought
would have been home runs pretty easy at Wrigley and here, they go
to the warning track. It's definitely a pitcher's park, it always
has been."J.D. Drew got one hit in three at-bats against Maddux, whose
velocity is about 10 mph lower than the 93 mph of some of his
rivals."That makes it tough," Drew said. "You almost find yourself
underswinging sometimes and taking a different approach. You just
try to make do with what you get and get good swings when you can.
He didn't allow that."Ryan Dempster pitched the ninth for his third save of the
season, tying Joe Borowski's team record of 22 straight saves.Brett Tomko (1-1) made his home debut with the Dodgers, allowing
four runs on seven hits, while striking out two and walking one."The guy's amazing. It's been fun to watch over the last 10
years that I've been playing," Tomko said. "He's going to be on a
majority of the time. You know you can't make mistakes against
him."The game lasted a minute under two hours, but Maddux deferred
credit for expediting things."I thought Tomko pitched pretty good," he said. "I would've
liked to have sat on the bench a little bit longer a few innings."Maddux helped himself with his first hit of the season in the
fifth, when the Cubs scored three runs and took a 4-0 lead.Maddux blooped an RBI single into short center field after Matt Murton walked and Ronny Cedeno singled. A fielding error by third
baseman Bill Mueller on Juan Pierre's bunt allowed Cedeno to score.
Todd Walker followed with a sacrifice fly for the third run.The Cubs led 1-0 on Walker's home run in the first.The Dodgers got on the board with Mueller's RBI double in the
Maddux is the first 40-year-old Cubs pitcher to appear in a
game since Ferguson Jenkins made a relief appearance against
Pittsburgh on Sept. 21, 1983, at the same age. Maddux is also the
first Cubs pitcher age 40 or older to start a game (Jenkins, Sept.
9, 1983, against Pittsburgh) and record a win (Jenkins, Sept. 21,
1983, a 7-6 win over Pittsburgh). ... Dodgers 2B Jeff Kent, who was
hit in the head Sunday, missed the game. He has a slight headache
and a sore spot on his head, but is expected to return shortly. ...
Dodgers CF Kenny Lofton went 0-for-3 facing Maddux for the first
time in his 15-year major league career.