PHOENIX - It was in Greg Maddux's hands Thursday night to make the opening series on this trip a distant memory, but for the first time this season someone knocked him off his Cy Young pedestal.
Forced to scramble when an out-of-sorts Maddux failed to hold a 3-0 lead, the Braves lingered long enough to glimpse a second straight win before succumbing to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 13-6, at Bank One Ballpark.
The Diamondbacks jolted the previously unscratched Maddux with nine hits and seven runs, the most runs the Braves' ace has allowed since last July 1, a span of 22 starts. Maddux had been 108-2 since the 1991 All-Star break when his team had scored five or more runs for him.
"I didn't locate good, I didn't change speeds good, I didn't do anything good," said Maddux, who fell to 2-2 while his ERA spiked to 2.48. "Usually something is going decent for you. But I didn't throw anything tonight that I got away with."
The Braves' bullpen poured accelerant on a three-alarm blaze. Mike Remlinger, who had given up two runs this season, was torched for Steve Finley's three-run home run in the sixth, then newcomer Matt Whiteside was blasted for back-to-back homers by Damian Miller and Erubiel Durazo in the eighth.
Later in the eighth, Luis Gonzalez launched the second pitch of Damian Moss' major league debut into the right field stands to tie the major league record with 13 home runs in April.
"The 2 and 0 pitch (to Finley) was right there," Remlinger said.
Manager Bobby Cox was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez after the sixth.
"Obviously (the 3 and 0 pitch) caught more of the plate than I wanted to."
The Braves took advantage of an out-of-control Robert Ellis in the first, producing a 3-0 lead on three walks and a pair of singles. Arizona's starter, who made stops in Vancouver, Louisville, New Orleans, Syracuse, Monterrey, Mexico and the Dominican Republic between his first big league appearance in 1996 and now, couldn't throw a strike and the Braves helped by swinging at the first pitch they saw.
After watching Ellis walk three of the first five hitters he faced, Rico Brogna wasn't patient and rolled into a double play, then Quilvio Veras swung at another first pitch and tapped to second, stranding runners on first and third.
Furcal, who walked and scored in the first, bunted in the fifth and advanced to second when first baseman Mark Grace's throw went astray. Andruw Jones followed by dropping a soft double in front of right fielder Reggie Sanders, and sacrifice flies by Chipper Jones and B.J. Surhoff made it 5-4.
In the sixth, Paul Bako's first hit of the season and Ellis' balk set up Furcal's sacrifice fly for a 6-4 lead. Maddux, who had allowed two earned runs in 27 innings this season, gave up four runs in two innings. Luis Gonzalez hit his 12th homer into the right field seats in the first, then three singles and Steve Finley's triple to center in the second made it 4-3.
The Diamondbacks didn't advance another runner beyond first base until the sixth when singles by Grace and Sanders, and Miller's roller to short made it 6-5.
Maddux, who was 0-2 with a 4.38 ERA in two career starts here, struggled with his command all night. He didn't hit his spots consistently and the Diamondbacks feasted on his mistakes, collecting nine hits, the most Maddux has given up since last Sept. 2, when the Astros managed 10 against him.
Maddux was chased in the sixth and his successor, Remlinger, fell behind 3 and 0 on Finley, then grooved a fastball and Arizona's center fielder launched a home run into the right-center field swimming pool to make it 8-6.
"Regardless of what the starters do, you expect to come in with a lead and get the job done," Remlinger said.
It had been almost as long between Finley's home runs (119 at-bats) as seven-run outings by Maddux.
"Maddux just wasn't himself all night long," Cox said.
Reach Bill Zack at email@example.com.
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