CHICAGO (AP) -- Greg Maddux must like July 17.
Maddux pitched a six-hitter for his first complete game in
exactly one year and his first shutout in precisely three years,
earning his 297th win and leading the Chicago Cubs over the
Milwaukee Brewers 5-0 Saturday.
Maddux took advantage of unseasonably cool weather and a 15 mph
"As far as a day to pitch on, this was as easy it gets," he
said. "It was cool, the wind was blowing in and all the mistakes
were hit at guys."
Maddux (8-7) got his 35th shutout, his first since a six-hitter
against Tampa Bay on July 17, 2001. The 38-year-old right-hander
pitched his 104th complete game, his first since an eight-hitter
against the New York Mets last year -- also on July 17. Maddux
retired eight of his first nine batters and struck out the side in
"He said ordinarily he doesn't go that far, but he said he felt
great," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "Some days, your limits
are higher than others, and today was a high limit day for him."
Maddux got seven straight groundouts starting in the fifth
"There was a lot of balls down the middle, but they were hit
right at people," Maddux said. "A few of the double-plays today
were mistake pitches. Sometimes the ball bounces your way."
Ben Sheets (9-6), who entered with 16 scoreless innings and wins
in three straight starts, gave up two runs and six hits in seven
innings with eight strikeouts.
"All day was bad location," Sheets said. "I got away with
plenty of mistakes. You can't throw 10, 20 mistakes and get away
with it. Two of them were hit hard. The wind probably kept two more
Sosa hit his 17th homer of the season in the first, a drive
against a wind blowing in at 15 mph. Alou added his 20th in the
"He must have really crushed that to get it against that
wind," Baker said.
Milwaukee LF Geoff Jenkins made a leaping catch in the ivy
on Derrek Lee's fly ball in the second inning. ... Brewers SS Craig
Counsell missed the game with a bruised right knee. ... Cubs 3B
Aramis Ramirez is expected to be back in the lineup Sunday. He
missed 11 straight games with a groin strain. ... Cubs RHP Mark
Prior threw for about five minutes on a flat surface before the
game. "He threw pretty much without pain," pitching coach Larry
Rothschild said. "He threw breaking balls, he threw some fastballs
with arm acceleration to them, and everything came off pretty
well." ... Milwaukee 2B Matt Erickson got his first major league
hit in the eighth inning.