Masterful Maddux wins 320th as Cubs beat Reds

CHICAGO (AP) -- Greg Maddux's final performance as a 30-something pitcher was like so many others during his long career: Efficient, quick and well-conceived.

Now it's time to move on, to his next start in five days and to another decade of life. He turns 40 in two days. And what's he expecting from that milestone?

"Hopefully the same as the 30s," he said Wednesday after beating the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 for his 320th career win. "I don't know. We'll see. I've never been 40 before."

Using an assortment of pitches and speeds, Maddux (2-0) allowed three hits and a run in six innings against a Cincinnati team that hit six homers the day before when, like Wednesday, the wind was blowing out at Wrigley Field.

"It's a factor, don't kid yourself. You feel fortunate to only give up one run on a day like this. Any fly ball is going to go out," Maddux said. "Luckily today they didn't hit too many too high in the air. ... Sometimes you get lucky and they don't pop it up as high off you."

Not only could the Reds not repeat their homer surge of Tuesday, but they also had trouble making plays in the field Wednesday. They had five errors, all by the third inning, and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion committed three.

"We played about as bad as we could in the first three innings," said Reds manager Jerry Narron, whose team finished with four hits.

"You make more errors than you get hits and you still feel like you got a chance to win the game. ... But the first three innings made me sick."

Cincinnati has another concern. Center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. left the game in the fourth inning after two plate appearances because of stiffness in the back of his right knee, an injury he said is not serious. It occurred in batting practice when he was chasing fly balls.

"It didn't really bother me. It just tightened up a little bit. That was it," Griffey said, adding he didn't know if he could play Thursday.

Maddux didn't surrender a hit until Encarnacion hit an RBI double after a two-out walk to Adam Dunn in the fourth. The Reds threatened in the sixth after two singles, but Maddux fanned Dunn
and got Encarnacion on a fly ball to end the inning. Maddux finished with two walks and seven strikeouts.

"Vintage Maddux," said Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, who had three RBI from the cleanup spot where he replaced the injured Aramis Ramirez.

"He hit his spots well today. When he struck out Tony Womack it
was as good of movement and as hard a fastball as I've seen him throw in my time here. He just looks like he's in great shape. We need him to be that way," he said.

Maddux's offseason conditioning program has helped him to the quick start, but he insists that's not why he's 2-0.

"Like I said all along, it's not how you work out, it's how you pitch," he said.

Reds starter Brandon Claussen (0-1) gave up five hits and four runs, three earned, in five innings but didn't get much help in the field.

"Mistakes happen and there is nothing you can do about it," Claussen said. "Sometimes they happen at the beginning of the year, sometimes at the end of the year."

Cincinnati's fielding woes started immediately.

Juan Pierre bunted for a hit leading off and after Derrek Lee walked with one out, they pulled off a double steal that prompted a wild throw into left field from Reds catcher Javier Valentin for the first error. That allowed Pierre to score and Lee to reach third where he came across on Barrett's sacrifice fly.

First baseman Scott Hatteberg dropped a throw to allow Pierre to reach leading off the third. One out later, Encarnacion made his second error of the game with a poor throw to first on Lee's grounder.

After Pierre and Lee worked their second double steal of the game, Barrett hit a hard grounder to third that Encarnacion fumbled for his third error and the Reds' third of the inning as Pierre scored for a 3-0 lead.

Encarnacion had hit his first career grand slam in Cincinnati's 9-2 win over the Cubs on Tuesday.

Barrett got his third RBI with a run-scoring single in the fifth.

Scott Eyre pitched two scoreless innings, getting Dunn on a grounder with two on in the eighth, and Ryan Dempster worked the ninth for his second save.

Game notes
Cubs right fielder Jacque Jones sat out after straining a hamstring Tuesday and won't play at the earliest until the Cubs begin a
series in Pittsburgh on Friday. ... Ramirez is day-to-day after straining the glut muscle during his final at-bat Tuesday. Neifi Perez replaced Ramirez at third and Angel Pagan took over for Jones in right.