Efficient and economical as always, Greg Maddux mowed down the Cincinnati Reds and moved closer to one of baseball's most cherished milestones.
Maddux needed just 92 pitches over 2 hours 15 minutes to throw a four-hit complete game for his 298th career win yesterday afternoon at Wrigley Field, and his Chicago teammates helped him with four homers in the 13-2 win.
Moises Alou homered twice, Mark Grudzielanek had a three-run shot and Aramis Ramirez hit a grand slam.
"Runs, man. Runs are a beautiful thing," Maddux said in his typically understated fashion. "When you get a lead like that, it changes the way the game is played."
Maddux (9-7) pitched his second straight complete game and 105th of his career. It was the first time he pitched back-to-back complete games in nearly four years.
Maddux, who shut the Brewers out in his previous start, walked none and struck out six. The only hitter to give him much trouble was Reds catcher Javier Valentin, who entered batting .182 but hit solo homers in the third and fifth innings.
* PADRES 9, GIANTS 4: In San Francisco, Jay Payton hit a three-run homer in San Diego's six-run third inning as the Padres ended Jason Schmidt's winning streak at 12 games.
Schmidt (12-3), roughed up for eight runs, nine hits and four walks in 52/3 innings, lost for the first time in 17 starts, dating to April 21.
David Wells (6-5) allowed four runs and 10 hits over 52/3 innings, but still moved above .500 for the first time this season with his fourth straight victory.
* CARDINALS 4, BREWERS 0: Jason Marquis scattered nine hits over eight innings and Jim Edmonds homered for the sixth time in seven games for St. Louis at home.
Edgar Renteria, Albert Pujols and John Mabry drove in a run apiece for the Cardinals, who are 61-34 and have won 12 of their last 13 at home. Overall, they've won 15 of 17 and 38 of their last 50 for a 10-game lead over second-place Chicago in the Central Division.
Marquis (10-4), who is 7-0 in his last nine starts, also doubled for his 12th hit, which leads NL pitchers. He's batting .286 with 11 hits in his last 22 at-bats.
* DODGERS 4, ROCKIES 2: In Los Angeles, Milton Bradley hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning as the Dodgers pulled off another late comeback for their 15th victory in 17 games.
* MARLINS 10, PHILLIES 8: Alex Gonzalez and Jeff Conine each hit three-run homers, and Mike Redmond added a solo shot to lead visiting Florida.
Armando Benitez bailed the Marlins out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning and finished for his 33rd save, helping Florida move within two games of Philadelphia and Atlanta for the NL East lead.
* ASTROS 10, DIAMONDBACKS 3: Carlos Beltran drove in three runs with two homers and Adam Everett tied his career high with four RBI to power visiting Houston.
Arizona, winless since the all-star break, has lost 11 games in a row.
* EXPOS 4, METS 1: In New York, Tony Batista hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning to lift Montreal. Brad Wilkerson also homered for the Expos, who finally return to Montreal after going 10-15 on a six-city trip that lasted 28 days.
* BRAVES 2, PIRATES 1: Johnny Estrada drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 10th inning in Atlanta.