The 40-year-old right-hander didn't allow a hit over six innings then left after a rain delay and Los Angeles went on to beat the suddenly struggling Cincinnati Reds 3-0.
Maddux, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on Monday, faced one batter over the minimum through six innings. He had no problem missing out on what might have been the first no-hitter of his 20-year, 328-win career. The 46-minute rain delay finished him before the bottom of the seventh and reliever Joe Beimel gave up a clean single to Scott Hatteberg leading off the inning.
"After two or three innings, you can sit around for an hour and go back out there," Maddux (10-11) said. "I've done that, but after six innings, I've never done that. In this ballpark, two runs is nothing, and they've got a lot of guys who can hit it out."
Dodgers manager Grady Little said decision like those "are all about the clock and the man."
"After 45 minutes, we didn't want to take a chance," Little said. "He said he had a no-hitter in Little League that would last him the rest of his life. We have priorities now."
The Dodgers won their sixth straight, one short of their season high, while the Reds lost their fifth in a row.
Even if the game had been called because of rain, Maddux would not have gotten official credit for a no-hitter. In September 1991, an eight-man committee chaired by then-commissioner Fay Vincent ruled that a pitcher had to throw a complete game of at least nine innings to have it count as a no-hitter. As a result of that decision, 50 no-hitters were tossed out of the record book.
The only accomplishment missing from Maddux's career resume is a no-hitter. The four-time Cy Young winner has two one-hitters in 662 lifetime starts over 20 years.
Maddux won his third straight start after going 0-6 in his previous seven outings. With the Cubs far from playoff contention, they traded him to the Dodgers for shortstop Cesar Izturis right before the July 31 deadline for making deals without waivers.
Maddux improved to 4-0 with a 2.35 ERA in four starts against the Reds this season. Cincinnati has gotten a combined six hits over the last two games.
"He feeds off aggressive swings," Hatteberg said. "He was sharp tonight -- you've got to give him a lot of credit -- and we weren't."
"He's got good control," said Reds catcher Javier Valentin, whose fly ball was flagged down at the fence by right fielder J.D. Drew to end the fifth. "He doesn't leave the ball over the middle of the plate. He's got good movement. What can you do? He's one of the greatest pitchers in baseball."
The Reds finished with two hits and were shut out for the eighth time, matching last year's total. Saito struck out Adam Dunn with two runners on to end it.
Eric Milton (7-7) lost for the third time in four starts. He allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings.
Rafael Furcal singled on Milton's second pitch of the game and two outs later, Saenz hit his ninth homer of the season.
- Furcal extended his hitting streak to 10 games (18-for-41, .439), matching his season high.
- Cincinnati's Rich Aurilia made just his second start of the season at second base.
- Milton turns 31 Friday.
- The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 5 minutes when the umpires ordered the field covered because of the threat of rain, which never fell.