SAN DIEGO -- Greg Maddux reached another milestone in his long, brilliant career. It might have meant more to a catcher making his big league debut than it did to the pitcher with Hall of Fame credentials.
Maddux became the ninth pitcher in big league history to win 350 games, reaching the plateau in his fifth try and leading the San Diego Padres to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
It was just the fifth win in 23 games for the Padres (13-24), who have the worst record in the majors.
"It was kind of cool," Maddux said. "I don't want to make it out to be nothing, but it is May and we haven't been playing that good, and you just really want to win for the right reason and not necessarily for the wrong reason. We need to start winning as a team and hopefully tonight is the start of things to come."
With Adrian Gonzalez hitting a three-run homer and the Padres ending a five-game losing streak, Mad Dog held the Rockies to an unearned run -- set up by his three-base throwing error -- and three hits in six innings. He struck out one and walked none.
The 42-year-old Maddux (3-3) improved to 350-217 in 23 big league seasons. It's another milestone to go along with his four NL Cy Young Awards, one World Series championship and a record 17 Gold Glove Awards.
Catcher Luke Carlin made his big league debut a day after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Portland. Although he struck out three times, he said he'll never forget catching Maddux and closer Trevor Hoffman in his debut.
"I don't know what to say. It's kind of like all my dreams came true at once, I guess," Carlin said. "It was a privilege, an honor. I'm pretty much speechless."
Hoffman pitched the ninth for his sixth save in eight chances, extending his big league career record to 530. It was his first appearance since getting a save at Philadelphia on April 30.
Hoffman usually keeps the final ball from his saves, unless the starting pitcher reaches a milestone.
"Trev gave me the ball. That was cool," said Maddux, the only active pitcher with 350 wins and the first to reach the mark since Roger Clemens did it last July 22, against Minnesota. "I'll take any free ball I can get. I'll give it to my kid. Let him go play with it somewhere."
Maddux hadn't won since beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 on the road on April 13. He followed that with three losses and a no-decision.
Carlin and Maddux talked both Thursday and Friday about how to set up and what pitches Maddux wanted to throw. The pitcher also told the catcher to have fun.
"He made it so easy for me today," Carlin said.
"He did real good -- set up right, gave a very good target and it looked like he had fun," Maddux said. "It's kind of hard to tell sometimes because his mask is on all the time, but it looked like he actually enjoyed being back there. That was pretty cool.
"I was happy for him," Maddux added. "Your first day in the big leagues, trust me, is a lot more special than things you do later in your career."
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle called Maddux "a master craftsman. He's going to go into the Hall of Fame. He stayed away from the barrel, changed speeds and got outs. He was very effective."
Padres manager Bud Black, a former big league pitcher, said he enjoys watching Maddux pitch. "It's good stuff," Black said. "It's always a fun day when he pitches, for me."
Although Maddux's velocity has declined, Black noted that he still has great movement and can change speeds.
"Greg will have movement when he's throwing to his grandchildren," Black said. "He'll change speeds to his grandson, probably."
Maddux was sharp, including retiring the first seven batters.
His one mistake came when he fielded Willy Taveras' dribbler to the right of the mound leading off the sixth and, in a rare defensive breakdown, threw wide of first baseman Gonzalez. Taveras sped around to third as the ball rolled into the Rockies' bullpen down to the right-field line. Taveras scored on Omar Quintanilla's grounder to third. It was Maddux's first error since May 9, 2007, at Atlanta.
Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez (1-3) struck out a career-high 11 in taking the loss, allowing three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
- RHP Greg Reynolds, the Rockies' first-round pick in the 2006 draft, will make his major league debut as the Rockies' starter in Sunday afternoon's series finale. He'll oppose RHP Chris Young.