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Maddux thwarted as Cubs fall to Pirates
09/28/2005 12:32 AM ET
CHICAGO -- Greg Maddux has run out of time.

The Cubs right-hander suffered his second complete-game loss of the season Tuesday night in a 5-3 decision to the Pirates. Jason Bay drove in four runs, including three on his 32nd homer, to help rookie Zach Duke post his second win over Maddux this season.

Maddux (13-14) was trying to extend his streak of consecutive seasons with at least 15 wins to 18. As of now, he's scheduled to start the season finale Sunday in Houston. That could change.

"I would love to try to win another game," Maddux said. "Obviously, it's more fun when you win. I'd rather try and not win than not try at all."

"I've got to talk to him first," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "I'm sure he wants to get back to .500."

If Maddux does finish with 14 wins, he'll still be in elite company. Cy Young owns the Major League record for most seasons with at least 14 wins, doing so 18 times. Maddux was tied with Walter Johnson and Warren Spahn heading into Tuesday night's game, having done so 17 times.

"We all feel responsible that he didn't get his 15 wins," Cubs catcher Michael Barrett said. "I don't believe that it's as much a reflection on the way he's pitched as it is a reflection on the way the whole year has gone for us."

Maddux could've been lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, but Baker stuck with the right-hander.

"I appreciate them letting me go back out there and hit in the seventh inning," Maddux said. "The fans are awesome, they always are. They made it easy to go back out there. I'm thankful that Dusty gave me the opportunity. I wish I would've pitched better."

The crowd of 38,440 stood and cheered as Maddux took the mound for the ninth.

"Except for a few pitches, he pitched great," Derrek Lee said. "We really wanted to give him the win. It was a gutsy performance by him. We couldn't get enough runs for him and it's a little frustrating."

"It's a great run by Greg," Baker said. "The guys really wanted to win for him. We left him out there to give him a chance ... to win."

But Duke (7-2) outdueled Maddux again. The Pirates lefty, who also beat Maddux on July 16, served up three runs on seven hits over eight innings and struck out six. Maddux gave up five runs, including a solo homer by Nate McClouth in the eighth, on eight hits in his third complete game of the year. He fanned six.

What will Duke remember about beating the four-time Cy Young winner?

"Just facing Maddux. That's greatness," Duke said. "Any time I'm on the same field with greatness, that's something I'll always remember."

The active pitcher with the second longest streak of at least 15 wins? Mark Mulder, who has done so five years in a row.

"I don't know if anybody is going to pitch that long," Baker said of Maddux's run. "That's No. 1. He's a great competitor, a great guy and a great teammate."

The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first on Bay's RBI single, but the Cubs tied the game in the second on Corey Patterson's RBI single.

Rookie Ryan Theriot reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jack Wilson in the Cubs half of the third and scored two outs later on Nomar Garciaparra's homer off a 3-2 pitch from Duke.

Duke singled to open the Pirates fifth, Sanchez followed with a single of his own, and one out later, Bay belted his 32nd home run off a 1-1 pitch from Maddux to put the Bucs ahead, 4-3.

Maddux downplayed the significance of the streak.

"I felt [like] I put myself in position to win," he said. "I don't feel like I gave any games away, I don't feel like I gave any innings away. I thought when I got beat, I got beat the right way. Very rarely did I beat myself, and I'm OK with that.

"Fifteen was a number that was thrown out there because it was the fewest amount I ever won [since 1988]. I never worried a whole lot about it. My goal's always been 20 [wins], try to get to the postseason and do well in the postseason once you get there. It was kind of cool, the 15 win stuff, [but] my goal's always been 20."

The Cubs' goal had been to get back to .500 this season. With the loss, they dropped to 37-42 at home with one game remaining Wednesday. They'll have to win all five of their remaining games to post a winning record. Hopefully, Maddux will get another chance.

"[Whether] he was going to [keep up the streak or not], it would be because of him," Barrett said. "I have to commend him for the way he's pitched all year."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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