SAN FRANCISCO -- Greg Maddux, with 355 wins to his name, might not even make the Dodgers' playoff roster. Or he could come out of the bullpen.
"Whatever," the modest Mad Dog said. "Bullpen's better than no pitch. Bullpen's better than going home. ... Absolutely, I still want to pitch. I still feel like I can pitch."Blake DeWitt hit a solo homer and singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, Maddux earned his 355th career victory and Los Angeles beat the rival San Francisco Giants 2-1 on Saturday night.Maddux (8-13) allowed two hits and one run in six efficient innings, throwing 47 pitches and 38 of those for strikes -- tossing three six-pitch innings for the NL West champions."He's remarkable," Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "I've watched and admired him from across the field. Tonight was, you could say, vintage."Torre went into this one hoping to get the 42-year-old Maddux a win -- and DeWitt came through. The win moved Maddux past Roger Clemens into sole possession of eighth place on the career list. Maddux won for only the second time in his last eight starts.As far as surpassing Clemens, Maddux hadn't thought much of it."In all honesty, I have felt this game has given me more than I ever thought it would in the first place," he said. "I just wanted to have a good game. I haven't had many since I got here."Maddux faced San Francisco for the second straight outing, having allowed seven runs on nine hits in five innings of a 7-1 loss Sept. 19 at Dodger Stadium. A four-time Cy Young Award winner, Maddux improved to 4-8 in 16 road starts this year.Randy Winn tied the game in the fourth with a solo shot and his first career homer off Maddux. Winn was Maddux's lone baserunner until Omar Vizquel singled to start the sixth.Both dugouts emptied after Casey Blake struck out against San Francisco's Billy Sadler to end the eighth. Blake and Matt Kemp, aboard on a two-out triple, jawed at Sadler as the reliever walked off the field, prompting Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti to run out.Sadler had agitated the Dodgers in a previous game with a fist pump and yell. Giants manager Bruce Bochy didn't like it."It's one thing getting excited but you're not here to show anybody up. I don't think he realizes what he's doing," Bochy said. "He's caught up in the moment. They took exception to it. It's something we have talked to him about."Sadler still defended his behavior."It has nothing to do with disrespecting the hitter," he said. "I'm excited because I did my job. There's nothing wrong with showing emotion like that."Los Angeles slugger Manny Ramirez played 4 1/2 innings before taking a seat and is expected to rest Sunday's series finale. Jeff Kent, coming off arthroscopic left knee surgery Sept. 2, also came out when Ramirez did.Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers' Game 2 playoff starter, pitched two scoreless innings of relief and Takashi Saito worked the ninth for his 18th save in 21 opportunities.Matt Cain (8-14) wound up winless in his final eight starts, going 0-5 during that span. He didn't win again after a 5-1 victory at Atlanta on Sept. 15. Cain was a 13-game winner in his rookie season of 2006 but has won only 15 games in the last two seasons.Giants All-Star Tim Lincecum (17-5, 2.66 ERA) will make his final start of the year Sunday, still hoping to win the NL Cy Young Award.San Francisco signed first baseman J.T. Snow to a one-day contract so he could retire as a Giant, even though he actually retired in December 2006 after spending part of that year with the Boston Red Sox. Snow played nine seasons with the Giants from 1997-2005.General manager Brian Sabean wasn't there to see the six-time Gold Glover honored. He and wife, Amanda, welcomed a son earlier in the day.
As he has done in the past in New York, Torre will let players control the season finale. Nomar Garciaparra will manage Sunday with Mark Sweeney serving as bench coach. That means making mound visits and writing the lineup. And will Torre second-guess any questionable decisions? "Probably," he said with a smile. "That's half the fun." ... Bengie Molina still couldn't believe he'd hit a two-run homer that he earned thanks to an instant-replay reversal -- and he didn't even have to run the bases because Emmanuel Burriss had entered as a pinch-runner before the umpires went to replay Friday night. "That was the weirdest play I've been involved in," Molina said. "The replay did its thing." ... Vizquel, the Giants' 11-time Gold Glove SS, turned his 1,700th double play in the sixth.