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Cubs' Maddux dismisses retirement talk after rare complete game

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Greg Maddux worked hard for victory No. 314, then rejected talk about his retirement.

The four-time Cy Young Award winner pitched his first complete game in more than a year to lead the Chicago Cubs to an 11-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, tying Gaylord Perry for 16th on the career wins list.

"I'm not getting any younger," Maddux said after helping the Cubs snap an eight-game losing streak, which tied a season high. "I really want to play out the year and come back next season."

But he's 39, and not the pitcher he used to be.

Before the game, manager Dusty Baker hinted that retirement for Maddux is a possibility while answering a question about Kerry Wood.

When asked if he envisions Wood, who returned last week from his second stint on the disabled list with shoulder problems, becoming a long-term fixture in the bullpen, Baker said no. One reason is the presence of closer Ryan Dempster. But Baker also said that could leave the Cubs with two holes in the starting rotation -- if Maddux retires.

"When you get to a certain age, there's always that option," he said.

The Cardinals probably wouldn't mind seeing Maddux go away, although this wasn't a vintage performance.

Maddux (9-9) allowed 12 hits in going the distance for the first time since July 22, 2004. He had help -- especially from Derrek Lee, who hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning and a solo shot in the sixth.

Lee has 35 home runs this season and 16 two-homer games in his career.

Aramis Ramirez was 3-for-4 with two RBI, and Corey Patterson had three hits, scored two and drove in one for the Cubs.

Cardinals starter Mark Mulder (13-6) again struggled in a day game, tying a season high with seven runs allowed on nine hits in four innings. He lost for the first time since June 22, when Cincinnati scored seven runs. He is 1-5 in 10 day starts.

Albert Pujols gave Mulder, who was 5-0 with a 2.07 ERA in his previous eight starts, an early lead with a two-run homer in the first inning.

But the Cubs scored a run in the bottom half, two in the second and one in the third before breaking it open with two outs in the fourth.

After Jose Macias and Neifi Perez singled, Lee drilled an 0-1 pitch to the street beyond the left-field seats to make it 7-2.

The Cardinals scored two runs in the top of the fifth, but Maddux struck out Pujols with two out and runners at first and third. With two on and two outs in the bottom of the inning, Pujols missed a throw to first by reliever Brad Thompson for a two-run error.

"It's not Mulder's fault," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "Our team got beat. We had one really good chance (in the fifth inning), and Maddux showed you why he's a 300-game winner and got that out with Pujols."

Lee, batting .263 with six homers and 12 RBI in his previous 24 games, led off the sixth with his second homer. Before the game, Baker suggested fatigue was setting in and called his triple-crown contender "a victim of his own success." Lee said the issue was time -- not fatigue.

Early on, it looked like the Cardinals would get the best of Maddux.

After a 1-hour, 36-minute rain delay, they jumped on him in the first inning.

On the second pitch, David Eckstein doubled down the right-field line. And with one out, Pujols connected, sending a 1-1 fastball into the center-field bleachers.

It was a rough beginning for Maddux, who was 1-5 with a 4.59 ERA in his previous eight starts.

He settled down, though.

Afterward, Maddux said he wants to pitch next season, but didn't dismiss the possibility of retirement.

The third year of his contract -- and $9 million -- becomes guaranteed if Maddux pitches another 30 2/3 innings. With approximately nine starts remaining, that shouldn't be a problem.

But Maddux said money won't factor into his decision.

"I've had my day," he said. "Let's shut down (the retirement talk) right now. ... This is something that's not an issue right now."

Notes

  • The Cubs recalled LHP John Koronka from Triple-A Iowa before Thursday's game and optioned lefty Rich Hill. This will be the second stint with the Cubs for Koronka, who was 1-2 with a 7.63 ERA in three starts in June. Baker said he will be used in relief. Hill was 0-2 with an 8.57 ERA in seven appearances -- four starts -- in two tours with the Cubs. He started Wednesday's game against Cincinnati and allowed six runs, four hits and four walks in three-plus innings.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux scatters 12 hits in his first complete game since July 22, 2004. (AP)
Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux scatters 12 hits in his first complete game since July 22, 2004. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

D. Lee
AB 4
R 3
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
Chicago

A. Ramirez
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4121001 .272
    Cal Eldred, P0000000 .000
Abraham Nunez, 3B-SS3021000 .315
Albert Pujols, 1B4112013 .339
Jim Edmonds, CF4010011 .268
    Skip Schumaker, LF0000000 .000
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4010022 .302
John Mabry, RF4010001 .267
So Taguchi, LF-CF4120011 .292
Einar Diaz, C4010002 .210
Mark Mulder, P1000000 .111
   a- Jason Marquis, PH1110000 .344
    Brad Thompson, P0000000 .000
   b- Scott Seabol, PH-3B1000001 .225
   c- John Rodriguez, PH1000001 .295
Totals3541240513 
a-singled for Mulder in the 5th
b-lined out for Thompson in the 7th
c-flied out for Seabol in the 9th
Batting
2B - David Eckstein (18, Maddux), Abraham Nunez (9, Maddux), John Mabry (11, Maddux)
HR - Albert Pujols (32, Maddux)
SH - Abraham Nunez (6)
RBI - David Eckstein (41), Abraham Nunez (34), Albert Pujols 2 (91)
2-OUT RBI - David Eckstein (21), Abraham Nunez (11)
SB - So Taguchi (7, 2nd base off Maddux/Barrett)
CS - Mark Grudzielanek (5, 2nd base by Maddux/Barrett)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Albert Pujols (11, Missed catch)
St. Louis Cardinals
Mark Mulder (L,13-6) 4977321 4.10
Brad Thompson 2531111 3.05
Cal Eldred 2211000 1.31
HBP - Ramirez (by Cal Eldred)
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Mulder 60-34, Brad Thompson 48-28, Cal Eldred 28-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Mulder 7-2, Brad Thompson 5-1, Cal Eldred 3-3
Batters Faced - Mark Mulder 23, Brad Thompson 13, Cal Eldred 9
Chicago Cubs
Jose Macias, RF5121010 .296
Neifi Perez, 2B5220002 .266
Derrek Lee, 1B4324101 .349
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4132000 .305
Nomar Garciaparra, SS5020003 .213
Michael Barrett, C3120202 .280
Matt Murton, LF4100014 .333
   a- Todd Hollandsworth, PH-LF1000002 .252
Corey Patterson, CF4231100 .237
Greg Maddux, P4001015 .220
Totals39111694319 
a-popped out for Murton in the 8th
Batting
2B - Neifi Perez (22, Mulder), Aramis Ramirez (28, Mulder), Michael Barrett (23, Thompson), Corey Patterson (10, Mulder)
HR - Derrek Lee 2 (35, Mulder, Thompson)
SH - Greg Maddux (7)
RBI - Jose Macias (8), Derrek Lee 4 (88), Aramis Ramirez 2 (83), Corey Patterson (25), Greg Maddux (4)
2-OUT RBI - Jose Macias (2), Derrek Lee 3 (29), Aramis Ramirez (27), Corey Patterson (7)
CS - Jose Macias (2, 2nd base by Mulder/Diaz)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Garciaparra-Perez-Lee, Maddux-Garciaparra-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Greg Maddux (W,9-9) 91244051 4.54
Pitches-Strikes - Greg Maddux 101-77
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Greg Maddux 8-11
Batters Faced - Greg Maddux 36
Game Information
Attendance - 38170
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Bruce Froemming