The Braves' scenario is vastly different this year, but Maddux insists he doesn't care. The right-hander won his third straight start Friday night in a 7-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants but Atlanta remained in second place 1 ½ games behind the New York Mets.
Atlanta, which has won its division in every full season since 1991, has not been in a pennant race since 1993, Maddux's first year with the Braves.
"It's more fun, it's more exciting," said Maddux (13-6). "It's still only the beginning of August. But it adds a different flavor."
Jose Hernandez later doubled to give Atlanta a 4-0 lead.
"I didn't want to walk (Jordan), but I still came right down the middle and he jumped all over it," Estes said. "It's frustrating because you can't go back and play it all over again."
Maddux allowed one run over 6 2-3 innings, struck out two and walked one. He was helped by a spectacular play from center fielder Andruw Jones, whose running basket catch ith two outs in the sixth robbed Rich Aurilia of an extra-base hit and an RBI.
"I wasn't going to get anybody else out," Maddux said. "Why give them a chance?"
The Braves went up 5-1 in the sixth on an RBI single by Williams, who later added a two-run homer, his 10th of the season, in the eighth.
Barry Bonds did not take the field in the seventh for the Giants and was listed as day-to-day with back spasms. Bonds, who had four homers and 12 RBIs in his previous 12 games, played in only 55 games this year due to elbow and groin injuries.
"He's having a tough time walking," said Giants manager Dusty Baker. "Right now we don't have him in (Saturday's lineup)."
Bonds was in no mood to talk when asked whether he will try to play Sunday.
"I don't know," he said. "I don't (it's) back spasms. Get out of my face."
Coming off consecutive eight-inning performances in which he gave up a total of two runs, Estes allowed nine hits, five runs and two walks in six innings.
"The first inning hurt," said Baker, whose team fell to 7-15 since the All-Star break. "We were behind from the beginning. It's hard to get behind Maddux and come back."
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