A couple of first-inning singles sure wouldn't be enough for the Milwaukee Brewers to rattle Greg Maddux.
Maddux gave up hits on his first two pitches before recovering to pitch a six-hitter Monday night for his second consecutive complete game as the Atlanta Braves beat Milwaukee 6-1.
"It was no big deal. I just thought maybe I could get a ground ball, a double play. Instead I got a line drive out to right," said Maddux, who retired Jeff Cirillo on the liner and Marquis Grissom on a bouncer and struck out Geoff Jenkins.
After that, Maddux (11-6) put it into cruise control.
The right-hander, coming off an eight-inning complete game 2-0 loss to Florida in his last start, pitched his first nine-inning complete game since last Aug. 6, when he beat Cincinnati 5-0.
"It was the same Maddux I remembered from when I was with the Braves," Grissom said.
"We helped him out early by going down in order after the two leadoff hits," Milwaukee manager Phil Garner said. "We gave him a little confidence. We get a couple of hits, and he then calmly gets out of the inning."
The Braves, who opened a six-game homestand after a 5-7 road trip, learned during the game that they would be without catcher Javy Lopez for the rest of the season. Lopez will undergo surgery on his right knee.
"It's a shame," Maddux said. "Everybody knows Javy can hit. You can't replace his bat, but we'll just have to go on without him."
The Braves have lost 4 ½ games of their five-game lead in the NL East to the New York Mets since the All-Star break.
"There's still a lot of games left," Maddux said. "Lots of things can happen but we're aware there are teams on our heels."
Maddux had a four-hit shutout entering the ninth but gave up a leadoff single to Grissom and an RBI double to Jenkins. He then struck out Sean Berry and Brian Banks an got Jose Valentin to fly out to finish his 91st complete game.
Maddux, 6-1 in his last eight starts, walked two and struck out seven.
The Braves made it easy for Maddux, scoring five runs two unearned in the fifth inning off Scott Karl (7-9) to take a 6-0 lead.
The big hit in the inning was a two-run double by Brian Hunter after right-fielder Becker dropped Hunter's foul fly, prolonging the at-bat.
Chipper Jones had a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Andruw Jones had an RBI single and Bret Boone and Ryan Klesko hit RBI grounders in the fifth for the Braves.
Karl allowed six runs four earned and eight hits in six innings.
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