Braves' Hampton wins fifth straight decision

ATLANTA (AP) -- Chipper Jones drove in three runs, Mike Hampton

won his fifth in a row and the Atlanta Braves defeated the slumping

Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 Saturday.

Los Angeles, the worst-hitting team in the National League, lost

its fifth in a row but finally managed to score more than three

runs -- the first time that's happened since July 22.

The Dodgers had scored only 11 runs in their previous nine

games, including a 2-0 shutout loss to the Braves on Friday.

Atlanta built a 5-0 lead, then had to hold on as Los Angeles

mounted a rare offensive charge. After managing only one run and

three hits through the first six innings, the Dodgers knocked out

Hampton (8-5) in the seventh.

Cesar Izturis and pinch-hitter Mike Kinkade had two-out,

run-scoring doubles off the Atlanta starter. Reliever Kevin

Gryboski gave up a bloop single to Ricky Henderson, driving home

Kinkade to pull the Dodgers within 6-4.

Ray King finally got the third out, striking out pinch-hitter

Adrian Beltre. King pitched the eighth before giving way to John

Smoltz, who struck out the side in the ninth for his 42nd save in

45 chances.

Hampton surrendered six hits and was charged with all four

Dodgers runs in 6 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out six to

extend his winning streak, the longest since he began an ill-fated

stint in Colorado with five straight wins in 2001.

The Braves scored in both the first and third innings against

Andy Ashby (2-9), each time when Gary Sheffield grounded out with a

runner at third.

In the fifth, Hampton helped himself at the plate with a leadoff

single to left. The Braves loaded the bases with one out on Marcus

Giles' walk and Sheffield's infield single, which slipped under

Ashby's glove on the right side of the mound.

On the very next pitch, Jones broke the game open with a liner

into the right-field corner. When the ball got caught up in the

padding, all three runners scored and Jones cruised into third with

a triple. That was it for Ashby, who gave up eight hits in 4 1-3


The Dodgers' frustration was evident in the eighth, when both

Paul LoDuca and manager Jim Tracy were ejected by home-plate umpire

Joe West. LoDuca was thrown out for arguing a called third strike,

and Tracy got tossed when he came out to defend his catcher.

This was a matchup between the teams at opposite ends of the NL

hitting charts. The Braves lead the league in homers and runs,

while the Dodgers are by far the worst team in those two


Epitomizing the offensive gap, the Braves started a lineup that

included seven players with double-figure homers and six with at

least 50 RBI; Shawn Green (11 homers, 51 RBI) was the only Los

Angeles starter meeting that standard.

Robin Ventura, starting his first game for Los Angeles since

being acquired from the Yankees, wasn't much help. He went

0-for-4.Game notes
Green, 13-of-19 vs. Hampton in his career, went hitless in

two at-bats against the Atlanta starter but did drive in the first

Dodgers run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. ... The game was

halted briefly in the sixth when West ordered the lights turned on

after late-afternoon shadows crept over the left side of the field.

... The crowd of 47,506 was the third sellout of the season at

Turner Field.