Two hundred down. One hundred to go.
Greg Maddux became the 94th pitcher in major-league history to win 200 games, pitching seven strong innings Tuesday night as the Atlanta Braves doubled their way to an 8-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Maddux (16-6) reached another milestone in a remarkable career, pushing his lifetime record to 200-114 -- including 105-39 during six seasons in Atlanta. By allowing only one earned run, he lowered his major-league-leading ERA to 1.65.
"One hundred to go," pitching coach Leo Mazzone told Maddux after the final out.
Maddux is on pace to win an unprecedented fifth Cy Young Award this season. After that, all eyes will turn to 300 wins, a magic baseball number reached by only 20 pitchers.
"He's got a good chance to win 300 games," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "I think he'll pitch six or seven more years. Hopefully he can, because that's how long it's going to take."
Actually, it won't take that long if Maddux maintains his current pace. He has averaged 17.6 wins over the past decade, which puts the 32-year-old on line to reach 300 in less than six years.
"I haven't thought about it. I really haven't," Maddux said. "I'll just get ready for my next game and go from there like I always do."
Traveling secretary Bill Acree brought a bottle of champagne to the clubhouse, about the only sign this was a special night.
"I only took a sip," Maddux said, grinning devilishly. "I've got to drive."
Of course, personal celebrations are becoming routine for the Braves tis season. Already, Cox picked up his 1,000th victory and Dennis Martinez became the winningest Latin pitcher in baseball history with his 244th victory.
The Braves had nine hits -- all doubles. Gerald Williams, Danny Bautista and Walt Weiss each produced a pair of two-base hits, and catcher Eddie Perez sealed the victory in the seventh with a three-run double.
"What are the odds of that?" said Maddux after the Braves picked up their most doubles in a game since May 3, 1986. "That's trippy."
It wasn't a vintage performance by Maddux standards. He gave up five hits, equaled a season high with three walks and even threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score.
Giants starter Kirk Rueter (12-9) would have been thrilled with those numbers. He lost for the third straight time after allowing seven doubles and five runs.
"Maddux hit the corners," Giants first baseman J.T. Snow said. "His ball seems like it's there, and you swing at it and it's not. That's why he's so good."
San Francisco dropped to three games behind Chicago in the NL wild-card race and failed to extend a three-game winning streak despite the return of Barry Bonds.
After serving a three-game suspension for his role in a bench-clearing brawl, Bonds went 0-for-3 and walked twice.
Atlanta set the theme for the night right away. Weiss led off the first with a double and trotted home when Williams followed with another two-base hit. Williams moved to third on a fly out, then tagged up and scored when Ellis Burks made a spectacular catch on Andres Galarraga's drive to deep center.
Burks' head slammed the padded wall at the 400-foot sign and he crumpled to the warning track, but the ball remained lodged in his glove. He remained in the game after a whiff of smelling salts, but left two innings later because of dizziness. Team officials called it a precautionary move.
The Giants scored an unearned run in the third with the benefit of two rarities.
First, Atlanta second baseman Tony Graffanino was charged with two errors one play, allowing Marvin Benard to reach second. Then, Benard wound up scoring from third when Maddux's errant pitch skipped away from Perez and rolled just outside the dirt.
Williams doubled again in the bottom of the third and scored on Chipper Jones' double. The Giants cut the lead to 3-2 in the fifth when Rueter singled and scored on Jeff Kent's two-out single.
Bautista pushed the Atlanta lead to 5-2 in the sixth, driving in two runs with yet another double.
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