Greg Maddux says he'll never be able to duplicate the last two seasons - his last two starts say otherwise.
Maddux pitched two-hit ball for eight innings and the Atlanta Braves matched a season high with their fifth straight win, beating the San Francisco Giants 6-0 Saturday."I'm never going to pitch again like I did the last two seasons," said Maddux, now 7-5. "Last year and 1994 were a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was a great ride, but it's over."
Or is it? Over his last 16 innings, the four-time Cy Young Award winner has won two straight decisions, allowing only one run and six hits. Both games have been caught by rookie Eddie Perez in place of Javy Lopez.
Even Maddux had to admit his last two starts were "pretty close" to last year's 19-2 form.
"I kept the ball down most of the time. It was 100 degrees on the field, but I don't worry about the heat - I just pitch. I had a little luck tonight," said Maddux, who lowered his ERA to 2.99.
Giants manager Dusty Baker described the Braves' pitcher as "vintage Maddux."
"I don't know what might have been wrong with him before we got here, but there certainly wasn't anything wrong with him tonight. Anytime you give a guy like Maddux a 4-0 lead, it's doubly tough. You've got to get him early if you're going to get him at all."
Chipper Jones homered and had three RBIs, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. He has 13 RBIs during the streak and three home runs in his last five games. All three homers have been hit to the opposite field.
Phillies 5, Rockies 4
At Philadelphia, Mike Benjamin drew a bases-loaded walk from Colorado reliever Ryan Hawblitzel with two outs in the seventh inning, giving the Philadelphia Phillies a win over the Rockies.
With the score tied at 4, Pete Incaviglia singled with one out in the Philadelphia seventh and took third on Jim Eisenreich's two-out single. After Benito Santiago walked to load the bases, Benjamin drew his go-ahead walk on a 3-1 pitch.
Pirates 4, Marlins 1, 10 innings
At Miami, pinch-hitter Dave Clark broke a scoreless tie in the 10th inning with a two-out RBI single, and Jeff King followed with a three-run homer as Florida lost an extra-inning game for the third time this week.
Mets 5, Reds 2
At New York, Mark Clark pitched eight strong innings to win his third straight decision and Alex Ochoa drove in two runs in his season debut.
Cardinals 9, Expos 4
At Montreal, Willie McGee drove in four runs and Mike Morgan pitched eight strong innings before tiring as St. Louis won for the seventh time in 10 games.
Dodgers 3, Astros 0
At Los Angeles, Ramon Martinez pitched his first shutout of the season, scattering seven hits, and Mike Piazza hit his 17th home run in the first inning.
Tigers 6, Twins 0
At Detroit, Brian Williams pitched Detroit's second straight shutout as the Tigers roughed up former teammate Scott Aldred and beat the Minnesota Twins.
Orioles 5, Royals 3
At Baltimore, Mark Smith hit Baltimore's third home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, capping an improbable rally that gave the Orioles a victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Scott Erickson (4-5) allowed two earned runs and eight hits in his team-high third complete game of the season.
Yankees 11, Indians 9
At Cleveland, Ruben Sierra hit homers from both sides of the plate, including a three-run shot during a nine-run sixth inning, and the New York Yankees beat Albert Belle and the Cleveland Indians.
Belle, back in the lineup after serving a two-game suspension during the Yankees' doubleheader sweep Friday, went 3-for-5 with a double. Eddie Murray hit his 488th career home run for Cleveland.
Mariners 4, White Sox 2
At Chicago, Bob Wells won his fourth straight start and Seattle beat the Chicago White Sox, the Mariners' third win in a row since star slugger Ken Griffey Jr. was injured.
The White Sox lost their eighth consecutive game. Two weeks ago, they were tied with Cleveland for the best record in the majors.
Athletics 8, Blue Jays 4
At Oakland, Calif., Jason Giambi homered and Bobby Chouinard earned his first big league victory as the Oakland Athletics ended Toronto's five-game winning streak.
Chouinard (1-2), making his sixth career start, pitched the first five innings and allowed four runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out four.
Rangers 8, Red Sox 2
At Arlington, Texas, Ivan Rodriguez drove in four runs with a triple and a double, and Roger Pavlik won his 10th game as the Texas Rangers handed the Boston Red Sox their fifth straight defeat.
Angels 6, Brewers 4
At Milwaukee, rookie Darin Erstad drove in three runs and Shawn Boskie pitched eight solid innings before tiring as the California Angels defeated the Milwaukee Brewers.