Even though he was not selected to the NL All-Star team for the first time since 1993, Greg Maddux served notice Wednesday night. He is back.
The four-time Cy Young Award winner, who struggled through May and much of June, allowed one run in six innings before leaving with a bruised foot in the Atlanta Braves' 7-3 win over the Florida Marlins.
"It's no big deal," Maddux said after X-rays showed no damage. "It feels fine."
After the game, his foot looked only slightly discolored by a red mark. Appearing in good humor, Maddux confirmed he will start the Braves' last game of the first half Sunday against Boston on only three days' rest.
"Hey, it beats waiting 10 days to pitch again," Maddux said. "I'd rather come back on three days than wait over a week to pitch again."
The right-hander gave up three hits and no walks with five strikeouts to win his third straight start. He is 4-2 with an 0.73 ERA in his last six starts. He has given up only 28 hits and nine walks in that span.
Preston Wilson ended Maddux's string of 20 consecutive scoreless innings with a solo shot, his 18th homer, in the fifth. Before Wilson's homer, Maddux had not given up a run since losing 2-1 at Montreal on June 22.
"He's a master," said Florida manager John Boles. "It's not fun having to face him, but you still have to admire him. He's a cut above."
The Braves won for the fifth time in six games against the Marlins by jumping on Florida starter Ryan Dempster (4-5) for a 3-0 lead in the first.
Brian Jordan, selected to his first All-Star team earlier in the day, drove in Bret Boone with an RBI single, and Andruw Jones followed with a double that scored Chipper Jones.
Jordan scored on a wild pitch, but the inning ended when Andruw Jones was thrown out attempting to score on a second wild pitch.
"Guyget in scoring position and I try not to do too much with Boonie and Chipper on base," Jordan said of his team-high 69th RBI. "I hit a little 18-hopper between first and second and drive in a run."
Chipper Jones hit a solo homer for the second straight night. His third-inning shot, his team-high 19th, put the Braves ahead 4-0.
"I felt so much better (than in recent starts), even though the numbers aren't there," said Dempster, who gave up eight hits and seven runs in five innings to move his ERA to 10.69 ERA over his last 18 2-3 innings, a four-start span.
"I've just about forgotten it already. I'm ready to pitch against Toronto (after the All-Star break)."
Maddux helped himself in the fourth by leading off with a double and scoring on Boone's sacrifice fly.
Andruw Jones hit a two-run homer in the fifth to pad the Braves' lead at 7-1.
Kevin McGlinchy relieved Maddux and gave up two runs a solo homer to Kevin Millar and an RBI single by pinch-hitter Danny Bautista.
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