PHOENIX—Greg Maddux has a ton of accomplishments in his 20-year career, including four Cy Young Awards, five World Series starts and 323 career wins.
But one thing he has yet to do is win a game in Phoenix.
the Cubs' ace since it first opened as Bank One Ballpark in 1998.
Attempting to put his name alongside Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton on the all-time win list and improve to 6-0 for the first time in his illustrious career, Maddux turned in his rockiest outing of the young season in a 5-1 loss to the Diamondbacks.
"Just don't pitch good here," Maddux said. "I left a couple balls over the plate. Give them credit for hitting them."
Maddux lasted only five innings, allowing five runs on 10 hits in his shortest start to date. Chad Tracy's three-run home run in the third inning gave the Diamondbacks a 4-0 lead, and the Cubs' offense could never mount a real threat against ex-Cubs starter Miguel Batista.
The Cubs hit into four double plays, including one in the second when Jacque Jones misread a line drive to left off the bat of Neifi Perez and was doubled off second for the second time in three games.
Manager Dusty Baker said Jones should've read the ball better, but added: "The balls stay up in the air longer with this light air. That was a big play too. That was one of them. When you're not scoring runs, you're trying to score any way you can. And most of the time you end up running into outs."
The Cubs have scored a total of five runs in their last five games, and their only run on Wednesday occurred when Batista walked Maddux with the bases loaded.
Their offensive drought is rapidly reaching crisis proportions. Michael Barrett had 14 RBIs in the first eight games but has only four in his last 39 at-bats. Aramis Ramirez has not driven in a run in his last six games, and has only 10 RBIs in 24 games. Jones has a pair of three-run home runs, but only four RBIs on his other 65 at-bats.
Last year at this time, the Cubs were in the midst of a seven-game losing streak that dropped them six games out of first place. They never recovered and eventually wound up 21 games behind St. Louis.
But with Maddux on the mound, the Cubs were confident they could end their funk.
Maddux needed only one more victory to tie Ryan and Sutton for 13th place on the all-time win list at 324, but that's one more than he had at Chase Field in his previous seven starts, when it was known as Bank One. Maddux was conscious of his record.
"You give yourself a pep talk," he said. "Mentally, I'm fine. I gave up the hit to the pitcher (Batista in the three-run third), and that started a big inning. You've got to get the pitcher out, especially if he's leading off the inning."
Maddux is now 0-5 with a 5.60 earned-run average at Chase, and 1-9 lifetime against Arizona with a 5.27 ERA. The D'backs, in fact, are the only team Maddux has faced 10 or more times and has a losing record against.
"Everyone has a nemesis," Baker said. "I know the infield here is real fast. Balls get through there, and he relies a lot on defense. But it's hard to win when you only score one run."