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Lack of run support haunts Maddux

Lack of run support haunts Maddux

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres' Greg Maddux did everything he could on Saturday. He even stole a base.

"They weren't holding me on. I was just trying to make something happen," Maddux said. "We weren't scoring runs and if I get thrown out there anyway, what's the big deal? We got our lead up guy up next inning and I'm probably not going to score on a double from first, but I can score on a single from second."

His old manager, the Braves' Bobby Cox, had an inkling of what was about to transpire.

"I knew he was going to do that," Cox said. "I've seen him do that too many times. He's a competitor, that he's still pitching."

But Maddux's output on the mound couldn't produce a victory on a night when the Padres' lineup was unable to score enough runs to support him in a 4-1 loss to the Braves at PETCO Park.

It was Maddux's 12th straight start without a victory.

"It's extremely frustrating," manager Bud Black said. "He's pitched well enough to, one might say, have double digits in wins with the way he's throwing. But he's a professional and he goes out there and makes his turn on every fifth day and competes as well as anybody I've been around. It's great to see."

Maddux has been playing the game too long to let some losses deter him from doing what he loves -- and that's pitching. So to him, it's not hard at all.

"The game is great," Maddux said. "It's fun playing the game. I enjoy going out there and I enjoy the opportunity to pitch. I'd rather be out there losing then not playing at all."

Allowing three runs on six hits with three strikeouts and two walks in seven innings is a start that would keep most teams in the thick of it. But the Padres have games in which they are unable to string together hits to produce the runs needed to back up their pitching which, for the most part, has been solid throughout the year.

"We got beat tonight and we didn't swing the bats," Black said. "We've got to do a better job of stringing games together where we have some offense to go along with the good pitching."

Maddux gave up the first run of the game in the third inning as the Braves used the bottom of their lineup to manufacture a run. No. 8 hitter Brent Lillibridge hit a double to right to lead off the inning. Pitcher Charlie Morton moved him to second base on a sacrifice bunt, and Gregor Blanco brought him home on a sacrifice fly to center.

The Padres got the run back in the fourth on an RBI double by Jody Gerut that scored Adrian Gonzalez from first. The Braves added two more runs in the sixth inning as they strung together some hits to again manufacture a run.

Chipper Jones and Mark Teixeira both had singles, Brian McCann walked and Jeff Francoeur hit a two-run single to left to score Jones and Teixeira. All this was done with two outs. It took Maddux 24 pitches to get out of the inning.

That made the score 3-1 and with the Padres, that can sometimes seem insurmountable. But that wasn't on the mind of Maddux. He was just mad that runs crossed the plate on his watch.

"You never want to allow runs when you're pitching," Maddux said. "Trust me, you don't. Whether it's 10-0 or 0-0, you never want to give up runs as a pitcher."

The Padres threatened in the bottom of the sixth after Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chase Headley hit back-to-back one-out singles. Gerut grounded out to move them up but Khalil Greene grounded out to end the inning.

Lillibridge hit a home run in the ninth inning off relief pitcher Joe Thatcher to provide the final margin.

In a quiet clubhouse afterward, Gonzalez spoke for his teammates saying, "We can't keep playing like this, that's for sure."

Ronald P. Clark is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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