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Model of consistency

Maddux becomes first pitcher with 16 consecutive 15-win seasons

Posted: Sunday September 21, 2003 8:36PM; Updated: Sunday September 21, 2003 9:31PM
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  Greg Maddux
Maddux improved to 137-4 when receiving at least five runs of support since the 1991 All-Star break.
AP

ATLANTA (AP) -- As usual, Greg Maddux gave the credit to his teammates.

Maddux became the first pitcher in major league history to win at least 15 games in 16 consecutive seasons, leading the Atlanta Braves over the Florida Marlins 8-0 Sunday.

Maddux (15-11) had shared the record of winning 15 or more games in 15 straight seasons with Cy Young.

"Sometimes, you're pretty fortunate on the mound," Maddux said. "It worked out. Probably the most special thing was seeing the other 24 guys on the team really busting it for me. To see your teammates go out of the way, that's pretty special."

He was referring to several outstanding defensive plays by shortstop Rafael Furcal and a diving catch by center fielder Andruw Jones.

"I had a horseshoe," Maddux said.

Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Marlins lead the NL wild-card race by one-half game over Philadelphia, a 4-3 loser to Cincinnati on Sunday.

The Marlins play the Braves on Monday then go home to open a three-game series against the Phillies on Tuesday.

Maddux pitched five scoreless innings and allowed only one hit in his 288th career victory. He tied Tommy John for 22nd place on the all-time win list.

"We got it done in great fashion. Greg pitched great, the offense did its job, and the bullpen slammed it," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "It was a great way to accomplish such a great feat."

Maddux was struck on the right ankle by a hard grounder off the bat of Juan Pierre for the final out of the third inning. The right-hander had the ankle taped in the bottom of the inning, then went out and retired the Marlins in order in the fourth and fifth innings.

CONSUMMATE WINNERS
Most consecutive 15-win seasons
Pitcher Seasons No.
Greg Maddux 1988-2003 16
Cy Young 1891-1905 15
Gaylord Perry 1966-1978 13
Christy Mathewson 1903-1914 12
Pud Galvin 1879-1889 11
Warren Spahn 1953-1963 11
Walter Johnson 1910-1919 10
Tim Keefe 1881-1890 10
Kid Nichols 1890-1899 10

The NL East champion Braves scored four times in the fifth for a 6-0 lead and Maddux left for a pinch-hitter.

Maddux had a bruise and X-rays were negative. He was expected to make his next start.

"I'll be OK," Maddux said. "It was kind of hard to keep my weight on it. It was a little uncomfortable."

He said he was glad he wasn't hit in the knee.

"With a foot, you can go on," he said. "I don't know how much it swelled up, but I know it hurt."

Maddux gave up just a leadoff single to Derrek Lee in the second inning. He didn't strike out any or give up a walk and threw only 43 pitches, 29 strikes.

"He's a smart cookie. He knows how to pitch," Florida manager Jack McKeon said. "He doesn't get you out; he makes you get yourself out."

Chipper Jones drove in four runs for the Braves with a two-run homer -- his 27th -- a sacrifice fly and RBI single.

The Marlins wound up with four hits, getting two off Darren Holmes in the seventh. Lee had three hits.

The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the first on Jones' sacrifice fly and made it 2-0 in the third on his run-scoring single.

Atlanta broke it open with the four-run fifth against Carl Pavano (11-13). Javy Lopez hit a two-run double and Rafael Furcal drew a bases-loaded walk.

Pavano went 4 1/3 innings. He allowed seven hits and six runs.

It was Maddux's third try at No. 15. In his last start, Tuesday night in Montreal, he left with a 4-1 lead after seven innings, but he got a no-decision when the bullpen blew the lead and the Braves lost 5-4 in 11 innings.

In his previous start against Philadelphia on Sept. 11, Maddux gave up 12 hits and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in an 8-3 loss.

Notes: Braves 3B Vinny Castilla left the game in the sixth inning when a grounder by Alex Gonzalez struck the middle finger of his right hand. Castilla threw out Gonzalez. X-rays were negative and he was listed as day-to-day. ... Prior to Sunday, Maddux was 1-2 with an 11.25 ERA in 12 innings against the Marlins this season.

YEAR IN, YEAR OUT
A look at baseball's most consistent performers. Most consecutive seasons with ...
Player Years No.
.300 average Ty Cobb 1906-1928 23
40 homers Babe Ruth 1926-1932 11
100 RBIs Lou Gehrig 1926-1938 13
Jimmie Foxx 1929-1941 13
200 hits Willie Keeler 1894-1901 8
100 runs Lou Gehrig 1926-1938 13
Hank Aaron 1955-1967 13
100 walks Frank Thomas 1991-1998 8
50 steals Lou Brock 1965-1976 13
200 innings Cy Young 1891-1909 19
15 wins Greg Maddux 1988-2003 16
30 saves Trevor Hoffman 1995-2002 8
200 strikeouts Tom Seaver 1968-1976 9

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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