Maddux Made it a Debut to Remember

Greg Maddux had never pitched a no-hitter. And according to the official records he still hasn't but the in his official debut with the club Thursday night he worked six innings without giving the Cincinnati Reds anything that resembled a hit before heavy rains delayed things 46 minutes and he and Manager Grady Little decided to call it a night after the field was again ready for play.

And although relievers Joe Beimel, Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito weren't able to preserve the no-hitter after the delay, but they were able to nail down the two-hit, 3-0 victory and a three-game series sweep.

The win was the clubs' sixth in a row and moved them into third place in front of the Colorado Rockies -- and etched himself into the hearts of Dodger fans sparked memories of 39-year-old Sal Maglie, who came to Brooklyn in the twilight of his career and pitched a no-hitter on September 15, 1956 against the Phillies to boost them into their final World Series in Brooklyn

The 40-year-0ld Maddux walked three, recorded 11 groundballs outs including two double plays, struck out three, faced only 19 batters, one over the minimum, and didn't allow a ball to be hit out of the infield until the fifth inning, when Edwin Encarnacion flied to left.

The future Hall of Famer needed just nine more outs when he took his warmup throws in the last of the seventh inning but for the second time the rains that had delayed the start of the game for an hour came again.

As the downpour continued, Manager Grady Little and Maddux agreed that it was foolish to attempt to warm up after so long a delay and he was finished for the evening.

Maddux had never pitched a no-hitter and told Little that he had pitched one in Little League and that was good enough.

The Dodgers were clinging to a tenuous 2-0 lead crafted by a leadoff single from Rafael Furcal and a two-out home run by Olmedo Saenz, his ninth of the season in only 135 at-bats and one of the most memorable of his career.

The Dodgers played a near perfect game behind Maddux, turning two double plays behind him. Furcal, who was his teammate in Atlanta, robbed Royce Clayton of a single up the middle, and J.D. Drew ran down a Javier Valentin drive on the warning track that could have gone for extra bases.

They also turned a rare 3-5-1 double play. Saenz made a backhanded stop on a shot by Ken Griffey, threw to third baseman Wilson Betemit who made the pivot at second base withe the infield shifted to the right for the Cincinnati slugger and his relay to Maddux beat Griffey to first base.

Maddux knew he hadn't thrown a complete game this season, and only one shutout in the last five years. He had made 22 previous starts and held the opposition scoreless in only one of them, gone beyond the seventh inning only three times, never into the ninth.

"We're trying to win -- not trying to see what certain guys can do," Maddux told he Los Angeles Daily News. "A two-run game is not where you want to be selfish, you know what I mean? It's not about me. This was a game we needed. I would have loved to have gone out and rolled the dice a little bit. But a bloop and a blast and who knows? It's tough facing guys the third and fourth time around."

The Dodgers picked up another run in the seventh when Furcal doubled and Julio Lugo tripled him home.

Beimel gave up a leadoff single in the seventh and Broxton allowed another in the eighth. Takashi Saito took over in the ninth and made things interesting by hitting Ryan Freel and walking Scott Hatteberg before striking out Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn to nail down his 11th save in 11 opportunities this season.

Twenty-three-year-old rookie Russell Martin can claim to have caught Maddux's first -- and probably most exciting -- start and drew accolades from the veteran pitcher.

"Martin did a real good job," Maddux said after the game. "He set up right, called a good game, received the ball well. Any time you feel a guy's in your corner trying to help, you appreciate that. I felt it [tonight]."

Martin also helped out with a perfect night at the plate, whacking a double, two singles and working a walk, to boost his batting average to .301. Andre Ethier and Furcal , who boosted his hitting streak to 10 games, each had a pair of hits.

Maddux won his first as a Dodger, his 10th of the season and his 328th career win tied John Clarkson for 11th all-time, one behind Steve Carlton.
  Score by innings
Dodgers    200 000 010-3
Cincinnati 000 000 000-0

  Dodgers  ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS  4 2 2 0 .282
Lugo, 2B    4 0 1 1 .303
Drew, RF    4 0 0 0 .275
Saenz, 1B   3 1 1 2 .294
 Lofton, PR 0 0 0 0 .294
 Loney, 1B  0 0 0 0 .260
Ethier, LF  4 0 2 0 .346
Betemit, 3B 4 0 0 0 .284
Martin, C   3 0 3 0 .301
Repko, CF   4 0 0 0 .282
Maddux, P   2 0 0 0 .089
 Beimel, P  0 0 0 0 .000
 Broxton, P 0 0 0 0 .000
 Ledee, PH  1 0 0 0 .260
 Saito, P   0 0 0 0 .000
   Totals  33 3 9 3
   Reds    26 0 2 0 

  2B- Martin (19), Furcal (22). 
3B- Ethier (4), Lugo (2). HR- 
Saenz (9). RBI- Saenz 2 (41), 
Lugo (28). S- Maddux. LOB- 
Los Angeles 6, Cincinnati 4. 
CS- Ethier (5). DP- 3 (Lugo, 
Furcal ad Saenz; Lugo and 
Loney; Saenz, Betemit and 
Maddux).

  Dodgers      in h r-er bb so era
Maddux (11-10) 6.0 0 0-0 3 3 4.49
Beimel         0.2 1 0-0 0 2 3.60
Broxton        1.1 1 0-0 0 1 3.10
Saito (sv 11)  1.0 0 0-0 1 2 2.38
  T- 2:33 (1:51 delay). Att- 26,053.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Jeff Kent suffered a minor setback in his attempt to return from a left oblique strain and probably won't be back before the club begins a 10-game homestand Monday night against Colorado. Nomar Garciaparra will probably return from the disabled list before Kent does, moving Julio Lugo to a reserve role when Kent comes back. …With left-hander Eric Milton pitching for Cincinnati, Little sat left-handed-hitting center fielder Kenny Lofton and first baseman James Loney, using Jason Repko in center, and Olmedo Saenz at first base. …Aaron Sele, forced to the bullpen by the acquisition of Greg Maddux despite a 7-4 record, took the disappointing news like a pro. "I'm happy to be a Dodger. I wanted to be a Dodger, I want to play for this team and I'll do the best I can out of the bullpen," he said. "I just hope they made the right decision." …Justin Orenduff, a supplemental first-round pick in 2004 who was with the big club during spring training, underwent shoulder surgery and is out for the year. …Derek Lowe (8-7, 4.29 ERA) opposes Anibal Sanchez (4-1, 4.46) in Friday night's opener of a three-game series in Florida. Lowe flew to Florida on Thursday because the team was not expected to arrive at its Ft. Lauderdale hotel until around 3 a.m. ET.

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