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Maddux Goes for 20 on Thursday

September 28, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Greg Maddux can’t break Orel Hershiser’s record this year for most consecutive shutout innings. He can win 20 games for the first time since 1993.

The four-time Cy Young Award winner has pitched 36 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings going into Thursday’s game against the New York Mets.

``It’s cool,″ Maddux said Wednesday in his usual understated manner. ``It’s better than talking about why you gave up 20 or 30 runs in your last 40 innings.″

Maddux (19-8) is tied for second in the National League in wins, trailing only teammate Tom Glavine (20-9).

Maddux has a 2.91 ERA, behind only Arizona’s Randy Johnson (2.38) and the Dodgers’ Kevin Brown (2.56), and is tied with Johnson for the lead in shutouts with three.

With the scoreless streak, he’s getting more and more mention for a possible fifth Cy Young Award.

``Flat-out luck,″ he said of the streak. ``Line-drive double plays instead of broken-bat doubles. That’s all it is. Fly balls to the warning track rather than 5 feet further for a home run.″

He’s won 20 games twice in his career, going 20-11 for the Chicago Cubs in 1992 and 20-10 for the Braves the following year. He’s had four 19-win seasons (1989, ’95, ‘97 and ’98) and two 18-win seasons (‘88 and ’98).

``If I do, great,″ he said of reaching 20 wins again. ``If not, get ready to pitch in the playoffs.″

The Mets beat him 9-1 and 4-0 in July and he beat New York 6-3 on Sept. 18. Maddux doesn’t put too much effort into figuring out what went wrong in the earlier starts.

``Make a 5-foot putt on the first hole,″ he said, ``miss it on the second. I wish I knew.″

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