Chicago at Houston

Chi. Cubs
W: G. Maddux (1-1) L: R. Clemens (1-1)
S: L. Hawkins (4)
HR: CHC - J. Burnitz (5)   HOU - J. Bagwell (3)

Cubs' Maddux wins rare battle of 300-game winners

CBS wire reports

HOUSTON -- Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens lived up to the hype surrounding the first matchup of 300-game winners in nearly 18 years.

For sure, Maddux will have a very long time to savor this victory.

"Looking back, years from now, it will be a special game," said Maddux after outpitching Clemens in the Chicago Cubs' 3-2 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night. "I was going to do whatever it took tonight to win this one."

Jeromy Burnitz went 3-for-4, including a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning to send the Cubs to a victory over their bitter NL Central rival that passed them up in the final week for a wild-card berth last season.

Maddux (1-1) recorded his 306th career win and first since the Cubs' 2004 season-finale against Atlanta. He lasted six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

Maddux was lifted in the seventh for a pinch-hitter, and Michael Wuertz, Will Ohman and Roberto Novoa combined to pitch two scoreless innings before LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save.

"He's a master at knowing how to pitch," Astros manager Phil Garner said of Maddux. "I don't know why every pitcher in America wouldn't buy a tape of him just to learn how to pitch."

Clemens (1-1) pitched seven strong innings to hold up his end of the marquee matchup. The Rocket allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out five while walking two. He even went 2-for-2 at the plate, only the second multihit game of his 22-year career.

But mostly because of the Houston offense, second-worst in the majors, Clemens failed in his fourth consecutive attempt at winning his 330th game and remained tied with Steve Carlton for ninth on the all-time list.

"Anytime he's on the mound we want to do our best," said Astros right fielder Jason Lane, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. "It's very frustrating that we haven't been getting him runs. We want to be able to give him runs the way he's been pitching."

Burnitz drove in two runs and finished only a triple short of the cycle to decide the first matchup between 300-game winners since 1987.

The 36-year-old Burnitz is the rare major-league hitter to have had some success against Clemens, improving his career totals to .363 (8-for-22) with two homers.

"I was lucky to get some good swings and pitches to hit," Burnitz said. "Does anybody really do anything against him? I got maybe a few hits before, but that's about it."

Before Friday, there had been only four matchups of 300-game winners in the modern era, all between June 28, 1986, to Aug. 4, 1987, all involving California's Don Sutton in the American League. Sutton made two starts against Phil Niekro and one apiece against Tom Seaver and Carlton.

The last time two NL pitchers with 300 or more victories faced each other was in July 21, 1892, between Philadelphia's Tim Keefe and St. Louis' Jim "Pud" Galvin.

This could be the last matchup between 300-game winners for a long time. Tom Glavine of the New York Mets is the closest active pitcher to 300 wins with 263, and he's 39-years-old.

"You can count on the number of fingers how many times future Hall of Famers face each other," Clemens said. "I feel very privileged to pitch when Greg does."

Not surprisingly, offense was in short supply with Clemens and Maddux bringing a combined 11 Cy Young awards -- seven for Clemens and four for Maddux -- into their highly anticipated duel.

Coming off an 0-5 trip that ended with consecutive 2-0 losses at Pittsburgh, the Astros did all of their scoring early.

Mike Lamb, filling in for struggling rookie outfielder Luke Scott, ended the Astros' streak of scoreless innings at 21 with an RBI double in the first.

The Cubs responded by snapping Clemens' streak of 24 consecutive scoreless innings on Burnitz's bloop RBI single in the second. Todd Hollandsworth followed with a run-scoring double to give Chicago a 2-1 lead.

Houston's Jeff Bagwell led off the fourth with a 347-foot shot that landed just inside the left foul pole, tying the game at 2-all. It was Bagwell's seventh career homer off Maddux.

But Burnitz sent Clemens' pitch 407 feet over the right-field fence in the seventh -- only the second homer Clemens has allowed this year -- for the go-ahead score.

"It was nice to be a part of a historic event," Burnitz said. "It might not happen again, so it was a special night and fun to be a part of."


  • The Astros played without closer Brad Lidge and shortstop Adam Everett. Both players had flu-like symptoms.
  • At 12-10, the Cubs will finish above .500 in April for the third consecutive season for the first time since 1945-47.
  • Up next on the wins list for Maddux is Mickey Welch at 309.
  • Clemens and Maddux faced each other once before, in 2000 when Clemens was with the Yankees and Maddux was in Atlanta. The Braves won 11-7 with neither pitcher getting a decision.
  • Clemens' 18-year-old son, Koby, threw his second consecutive no-hitter for Houston Memorial High on Friday night. Koby has signed a letter-of-intent to play with the University of Texas, Clemens' alma mater.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Jeromy Burnitz is batting .363 (8-for-22) with two home runs in his career against Roger Clemens.  (AP)
Jeromy Burnitz is batting .363 (8-for-22) with two home runs in his career against Roger Clemens. (AP)

Players of the Game

J. Burnitz
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1

G. Maddux
IP 6.0
H 7
ER 2
BB 1
K 3

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Neifi Perez, SS4000012 .369
Corey Patterson, CF4000020 .286
Derrek Lee, 1B3110100 .427
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4120001 .253
Jeromy Burnitz, RF4132001 .294
Todd Hollandsworth, LF4021001 .250
Michael Barrett, C3000003 .209
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   a- Jason Dubois, PH1010000 .320
    Michael Wuertz, P0000000 .000
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
    Roberto Novoa, P0000000 .000
   b- Ben Grieve, PH1000001 .500
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b-fouled out for Novoa in the 9th
2B - Derrek Lee (9, Springer), Jeromy Burnitz (6, Clemens), Todd Hollandsworth 2 (4, Clemens, Wheeler), Jason Dubois (3, Clemens)
HR - Jeromy Burnitz (5, Clemens)
SH - Michael Barrett (1)
RBI - Jeromy Burnitz 2 (16), Todd Hollandsworth (6)
CS - Jerry Hairston Jr. (2, 2nd base by Clemens/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Perez-Hairston-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Greg Maddux (W,1-1) 6722131 4.20
Michael Wuertz (H,3) 1.1000120 2.38
Will Ohman0000100 0.00
Roberto Novoa (H,1) 0.2000110 5.40
LaTroy Hawkins (S,4) 1000010 3.60
Pitches-Strikes - Greg Maddux 86-55, Michael Wuertz 24-15, Will Ohman 6-2, Roberto Novoa 14-8, LaTroy Hawkins 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Greg Maddux 9-5, Michael Wuertz 1-1
Batters Faced - Greg Maddux 25, Michael Wuertz 5, Will Ohman 1, Roberto Novoa 3, LaTroy Hawkins 3
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF5110012 .268
Craig Biggio, 2B4000004 .282
Jeff Bagwell, 1B3111100 .236
Mike Lamb, LF3011110 .212
Jason Lane, RF4000021 .298
Morgan Ensberg, 3B3010112 .258
Eric Bruntlett, SS3000001 .000
   a- Jose Vizcaino, PH-SS1000002 .308
Brad Ausmus, C3010010 .204
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000010 .214
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   c- Luke Scott, PH0000100 .154
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    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
   d- Chris Burke, PH1000000 .238
a-flied out for Bruntlett in the 8th
b-struck out for Ausmus in the 9th
c-walked for Clemens in the 7th
d-popped out for Wheeler in the 9th
2B - Mike Lamb (3, Maddux)
HR - Jeff Bagwell (3, Maddux)
RBI - Jeff Bagwell (12), Mike Lamb (4)
SB - Willy Taveras (7, 2nd base off Maddux/Barrett)
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Outfield Assists - Willy Taveras 1
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Roger Clemens (L,1-1) 7733241 1.03
Russ Springer 1200000 2.89
Dan Wheeler 1100000 1.64
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Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roger Clemens 6-10, Russ Springer 2-0, Dan Wheeler 1-2
Batters Faced - Roger Clemens 29, Russ Springer 4, Dan Wheeler 4
Game Information
Attendance - 41232
Game Time - 2:47
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Rob Drake, First Base - Lazaro Diaz, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Marty Foster