PHOENIX - Greg Maddux had no explanation for Thursday night's meltdown.
Just a shrug of the shoulders and a what-can-you-do? expression. Maddux, who entered with a major league-leading 0.67 ERA, was cuffed around in the Braves' 13-6 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, jolted by nine hits and seven runs, the most hits he'd given up since Sept. 2, when the Astros managed 10 against him, and the most runs he'd allowed since July 1.
"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 that I got away with."
Maddux, now 0-3 in Bank One Ballpark, paid dearly for a lack of command. He missed his spots consistently, and the Diamondbacks overcame a 3-0 first-inning deficit before the second was over. Luis Gonzalez tied the National League record for April home runs with his 12th in the first, then three singles and Steve Finley's triple to center made it 4-3 in the second.
Gonzalez tied the major-league mark with his 13th home run in the eighth, spoiling Damian Moss' major-league debut by blasting his second pitch into the right-field stands.
"It's getting embarrassing to get the attention I'm getting," said Gonzalez, who has 177 career homers, six against Maddux. "I'm not a home-run hitter."
Maddux, a four-time Cy Young winner, didn't look the part. He issued his first walk of the season to David Dellucci in the sixth and was chased with two outs in the sixth. Maddux had been 108-2 since the 1991 All-Star break when his team had scored five or more runs for him.
"Maddux just wasn't himself all night long," manager Bobby Cox said.
Despite Maddux's woeful performance, he turned a 6-5 lead over to Mike Remlinger in the sixth. With a pair of runners on base, the reliever fell behind Steve Finley 2 and 0, threw a curve that he thought was a strike, then a fastball was offered in Finley's wheelhouse.
Finley's first home run landed in the swimming pool in right-center to make it 8-6.
"The 2-and-0 pitch (to Finley) was right there," Remlinger said. "Obviously (the 3-and-0 pitch) caught more of the plate than I wanted to."
Cox agreed with Remlinger and suggested home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez adjust his strike zone. He was ejected for the second time this season.
The Braves, who capitalized on 30-year-old rookie Robert Ellis' wildness (three walks) in the first to take a 3-0 lead, got sacrifice flies from Chipper Jones and B.J. Surhoff in the fifth for a 5-4 lead.
But the bullpen failed to hold the lead under a barrage of Arizona home runs. In the eighth, Damian Miller and Erubiel Durazo welcomed Matt Whiteside back to the major leagues by hitting consecutive pitches for home runs, then Gonzalez took Moss deep two batters later.
"Regardless of what the starters do, you expect to come in with a lead and get the job done," Remlinger said.
The Diamondbacks, who swept a three-game series from the Marlins before the Braves arrived, collected 15 hits, including five home runs. Finley had three hits and five RBI, doubling his season total.
"It doesn't matter who is on the mound," Finley said. "Maddux is one of the best pitchers on the mound right now, but he'll give up some hits. We were lucky to get a couple of guys on and pick away at him and finally get him out of the game.
"Any time you can beat a guy like Greg Maddux, you've got to feel good about yourself."
Reach Bill Zack at email@example.com.
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