CHICAGO (Ticker) -- After getting some unexpected time off, the
continued to play like they still were on vacation.
pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game to outduel
posted a 6-0 victory over the Cubs.
In the thick of the National League wild card race, the Cubs had a weekend series against the
postponed due to Hurricane Frances. They returned to Wrigley Field for three games against the Expos, who own the NL's second-worst record.
But behind Downs (3-5), a former Cub, the Expos were able to capture the rubber game of the three-game series. The 28-year-old lefthander gave up five singles, walked one and struck out four.
"It's the first time I've ever done that," Downs said. "It's overwhelming, but to do it here in this ballpark, it's very sweet. I could not have drawn it up any better."
Downs retired 15 straight batters at one point and completely shut down the team leading in the NL with 198 homers. He was helped by a stiff wind blowing in that was estimated at 22 miles per hour.
Downs was in awe of facing Maddux.
"To face a guy like that, wow," Downs said. "I grew up watching him and to face him, a Hall of Famer in his home ballpark, I knew it would be a battle. I just tried to keep us in the game and get outs."
"The one thing he can always say if he does nothing else is that on a cold night in Chicago, on September 9, 2004, he outpitched the master," Expos manager
said. "You can't take that away from him."
Maddux (13-9) gave up just one run and three hits through the first seven innings before he was betrayed by his defense in the eighth.
had a ball glance off his glove for an error with the bases loaded, allowing two runs to score. Catcher
also committed a throwing error to allow another run to score.
Maddux lasted 7 2/3 innings and was charged with five runs - three earned - and five hits. He walked one and struck out seven in losing for the second time in eight decisions since the All-Star break.
"We just got outpitched," Maddux said. "The guy threw a great game. He threw a shutout and changed up his pitches well, that's how I saw it."
Chicago, which starts a four-game series against the Marlins on Friday, fell one-half game behind Houston and San Francisco in the wild card race.
Downs gave up a one-out single to Lee in the first and a leadoff double to
in the second. Alou moved to second on a wild pitch, but Downs struck out
lined into a double play.
Downs rolled the rest of the night, not allowing another runner until Lee walked with one out in the seventh.
"Those guys give a lot of people trouble, especially big swingers," Cubs manager
said. "They changed speeds well. Every time we got something going we would hit into a double play. We did not play very well."
In the third, Maddux gave up a leadoff double to rookie
, who came around to score on
's sacrifice fly.
After Izturis' double, Maddux retired 14 straight batter until
singled with two outs in the seventh.
's two-run homer off
in the eighth gave the Expos a 6-0 lead.