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Maddux K's 13 In Braves' Big Win


The Atlanta Braves needed a victory and Greg Maddux just happened to be the guy who delivered.

Maddux struck out a career-high 13 and became the NL's first 11-game winner, pitching the Atlanta Braves past the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 Saturday night.

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  • The win ended the Braves three-game losing streak and was only their third win in 10 games. Maddux also put an end to Toronto's season-high six-game winning streak.

    Maddux said there wasn't any added pressure on him to come through.

    "I only get to pitch every fifth day regardless of what the team has done in the last week or so. I just go out there and pitch the same as always," he said.

    And it was plenty good -- one of his better efforts.

    "It's right up there," said Maddux.

    "That's about as good as it gets," said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox. "He was outstanding. Has he thrown any better? I think last year against the Yankees was the best I've ever seen him, but this was real close."

    That was a 2-0 win on July 2 when he beat the Yankees on a three-hitter, striking out eight without a walk.

    "Yeah. That was it, definitely," said Maddux.

    Why?

    "It was at Yankee stadium, against a team that had won the World Series and it was on the road," he said.

    Maddux (11-2) is 9-0 in his last 12 starts and leads the majors with a 1.64 ERA and three shutouts. The four-time Cy Young winner earned his 100th victory since signing with the Braves as a free agent before the 1993 season.

    Maddux said the key to his 13 strikeouts was his changeup, which he threw about one of every four-or-five pitches of the 104 he threw, 77 strikes.

    Maddux walked none and allowed eight hits in his fifth complete game of the ear. The game took only 1 hour, 46 minutes and was the fastest in the majors this year.

    Michael Tucker and Ryan Klesko hit home runs in the seventh inning off Juan Guzman (4-10). Guzman had matched Maddux through six innings, allowing only two hits until the seventh.

    "It was another one of Greg's performances he does four or five times a year," said Klesko. "Tonight he was tremendous, not just good."

    What had worked for Maddux was Guzman's downfall.

    "Both of the pitches for home runs were changeups," said Guzman. "The second one was a good pitch. He (Klesko) just went down and got it."

    Toronto manager Tim Johnson said the Blue Jays knew what they had to do against Maddux, but failed to deliver with men on base.

    "He's done it in the National League for years. We just didn't get any hits when we needed them," said Johnson. "He's a tough pitcher. He has a reputation of throwing strikes, and that's what he did."

    The Blue Jays' biggest threat came in the ninth when Carlos Delgado and Tony Fernandez led off with singles. But Maddux got Darrin Fletcher to ground into a double play to escape the jam.

    Maddux has not lost since Colorado beat him 7-6 on April 26. He is 100-35 lifetime for the Braves and 195-110 overall in his career with 26 shutouts.

    Tucker led off the seventh with his 11th home run. One out later, Klesko hit his 14th homer.

    Guzman, who left for a pinch-hitter after seven innings, allowed four hits, walked one and struck out three.

    Juan Samuel, playing in place of injured Jose Canseco, struck out four times.

    Notes

  • Atlanta first baseman Andres Galarraga missed his fourth consecutive game because of a sore back.
  • Canseco, who hit his 23rd home run in the Blue Jays' 6-4 win Friday night, was scratched from the starting lineup because of back spasms.
  • Maddux pitched only six innings in his last start, leaving early at Yankee Stadium because of a sore neck. He said the soreness went away after a couple of days and he was 100 percent.
  • The Braves are 5-7 in interleague play this season, just 2-5 at home. Including last season, Atlanta is 3-10 at Turner Field against the AL, and have lost 13 of 16 at home to AL teams dating back to 1996 World Series against the New York Yankees.
  • Atlanta's Curtis Pride, who went 0-for-3, slammed his bat against a wall after popping out to shortstop in the seventh, and sliced the index finger on his left hand. He went to the hospital for stitches and was placed on the 15-day DL anRandall Simon recalled from Triple-A Richmond. Simon was hitting .245 with seven homers and 36 RBIs before Saturday when he hit three home runs and drove in 10 runs against Charlotte. "I was just mad," said Pride. "It was a stupid thing to do."
  • Toronto catcher Kevin Brown, on the 15-day DL since June 13 with lower back spasms, will join Triple-A Syracuse Sunday on a rehabilitation assignment.

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