Reds fall to Maddux’s Cubs

By Rick Gano The Associated Press

CHICAGO – Greg Maddux’s final performance as a 30-something pitcher was like so many others during his long career. Efficient, quick and well-conceived.

Now it’s time to move on. To his next start in five days and to another decade of life. He turns 40 in two days. And what’s he expecting from that milestone?

“Hopefully the same as the 30s,” he said yesterday after beating the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 for his 320th career win. “I don’t know. We’ll see. I’ve never been 40 before.”

Using an assortment of pitches and speeds, Maddux (2-0) allowed three hits and a run in six innings against a Cincinnati team that hit six homers the day before when, like yesterday, the wind was blowing out at Wrigley Field.

“It’s a factor, don’t kid yourself. You feel fortunate to only give up one run on a day like this. Any fly ball is going to go out,” Maddux said. “Luckily today they didn’t hit too many too high in the air. … Sometimes you get lucky and they don’t pop it up as high off you.”

Not only could the Reds not repeat their homer surge of Tuesday, they had trouble making plays in the field yesterday. They had five errors, all by the third inning, and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion committed three.

“We played about as bad as we could in the first three innings,” said Reds manager Jerry Narron, whose team finished with four hits.

“You make more errors than you get hits and you still feel like you got a chance to win the game. … But the first three innings made me sick.”

Cincinnati has another concern. Center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. left the game in the fourth inning after two plate appearances because of stiffness in the back of his right knee, an injury he said is not serious. It occurred in batting practice when he was chasing fly balls.

“It didn’t really bother me. It just tightened up a little bit. That was it,” Griffey said, adding he didn’t know if he could play today.

Maddux didn’t surrender a hit until Encarnacion hit an RBI double after a two-out walk to Adam Dunn in the fourth. The Reds threatened in the sixth after two singles, but Maddux fanned Dunn and got Encarnacion on a fly ball to end the inning. Maddux finished with two walks and seven strikeouts.

“Vintage Maddux,” said Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, who had three RBIs from the cleanup spot where he replaced the injured Aramis Ramirez.

“He hit his spots well today. When he struck out Tony Womack it was as good of movement and as hard a fastball as I’ve seen him throw in my time here. He just looks like he’s in great shape. We need him to be that way.”