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Maddux struggles in loss to D-backs

Maddux struggles in loss to D-backs

PHOENIX -- Greg Maddux's pursuit of another historical milestone might have stalled on Friday, though the future Hall of Famer certainly didn't depart Chase Field empty-handed.

Not that he needed it and certainly not because he sought it, but the 42-year-old Maddux earned even more respect from his teammates and those across the way after a less-than masterful, less than Maddux-like outing against Arizona.

Officially, Maddux was tagged for nine runs for the first time since 2004, six in the first inning alone, as the Diamondbacks opened the three-game series with a resounding 9-0 victory over the Padres before a crowd of 26,783.

What got the attention of the Padres, and even the Diamondbacks, won't turn up in any box score, not unless you count the 113 pitches -- the most pitches Maddux has tossed during a single start in 2 1/2 seasons.

Maddux essentially rescued the Padres (8-9) by lasting seven innings against the red-hot Diamondbacks (12-4), who scored six runs on six hits in the first inning when it became readily apparent that career victory No. 350 wasn't in the offing.

But salvation might have been, as the Padres -- who used six different relievers to cover 14 innings Thursday, and, well, early Friday in a 22-inning loss to the Rockies -- saved their bullpen as Maddux pressed ahead without his best stuff.

"It shows you something as a teammate," Padres rookie catcher Colt Morton said. "It shows you he's a grinder and that he knows the situation. He got some outs and went deep into the game. That's why he's Greg Maddux."

No, Maddux didn't give the Padres what they wanted on Friday, though he gave them what they needed most -- innings.

"They didn't have any long relief, and for him to go out there and give them seven innings in the fashion he did, that's a true professional," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "He didn't get his 350th today, but he picked his team up."

Not that Maddux, who turned 42 on Monday, one day after mowing through the Dodgers for five scoreless innings, felt like a savior by any means. You don't get to 349 victories by stashing away moral victories. This is still a result-oriented sport.

And sometimes an emotional one, as well, as Maddux looked every bit as upset for hitting a routine ground ball in the sixth inning as he did during that fitful first inning.

"I wasn't locating anything ... I made mistakes and they hit about every one of them," he said. "It was important to pitch well. I never gave us a chance to win. Before we even got going we were down six runs."

In sending the Padres below the .500 mark for the first time since Aug. 19, 2006, Arizona sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning, with seven of the first eight reaching base as Maddux left far more pitches than he would have liked up in the strike zone.

"I just had him up in the first, all the pitches they hit for hits were up in the zone," Padres manager Bud Black said. "But it was very important [to have Maddux pitch deep into the game]. He was going to stick around for as long as he could."

Neither Black nor Maddux were willing to peg the Padres struggles Friday -- they had just three hits off Arizona pitcher Dan Haren in seven innings -- for being weary after a long night that didn't see the team arrive at its hotel in Phoenix until 4 a.m. PT on Friday.

"Some people might say that, but I don't think we will," Black said. "It doesn't matter if you come off a 22-inning game or an off-day. That's not the way to start. We got beat by a hot team."

Added Maddux: "We're pros. We're used to that stuff."

What the Padres couldn't be used to, of course, was seeing Haren (3-0), who lowered his ERA to 1.80 by pounding the strike zone and getting mileage out of his breaking ball, a hybrid of a slider and a curveball.

Haren walked just one and benefited from a nice running grab by center fielder Chris Young on a Jim Edmonds drive to center in the fourth inning, which surely would have allowed Kevin Kouzmanoff to score after his double.

"He's made some great plays against us," Black said of Young. "Right off the bat, I said that was going to fall."

It didn't. Not much did.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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