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George Carlin would love Trevor Hoffman

Acerbic stand-up comic George Carlin is famous for a routine in which he extols baseball's sweetly passive nature over football's brutality. Carlin talks about the object of baseball -- "to be safe, at home" -- and as a game where players "sacrifice." He could add to that list occasions when pitchers come in at the last minute to "save" the game for a teammate. And that brings us to baseball's most prolific save artist, San Diego's Trevor Hoffman, who reached an all-time milestone last night with his 500th career save. It's never been done before.

Last night, Hoffman preserved the Padres' 5-2 win over the Dodgers. The starting pitcher was Greg Maddux, who has 338 victories and counting.

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Dodgers manager Grady Little made this wry observation: ''They started the game with one Hall of Famer and they finished it off with another."

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