Hampton pitches six scoreless innings vs. Dodgers

ATLANTA (AP) -- Mike Hampton isn't too proud of his record.

But at least he got the first win out of the way.

Hampton did it all Sunday -- pitching six scoreless innings,

homering and making two fine defensive plays to lead the Atlanta

Braves past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1.

Hampton (1-5) snapped the worst start of his career despite

giving up nine hits and walking two. He pitched out of two

bases-loaded jams.

"It's big," said Hampton, who won for the first time since

Sept. 17, 2003. "The stat sheet still looks pretty ugly, but you

can't win your second without that first win."

Coincidentally, Hampton also homered in his last win. He now has

13 homers in his career -- the most among active pitchers.

"I don't care about the win. I'm just glad he didn't out-homer

me," quipped Chipper Jones, who added a two-run homer. "He can

hold that over a lot of people's heads in here, but not mine."

Rookie Nick Green, filling in for injured second baseman,

continued his strong play by driving in Atlanta's other two runs.

The Braves made two errors, but made up for it with several

outstanding defensive plays.

Jones threw out Paul Lo Duca at the plate in the third. Hampton

snared two liners back to the mound, including a catch just above

the ground with the bases loaded in the fifth that led to an

inning-ending double play. Andruw Jones made a diving catch on Jose

Hernandez's liner to left-center in the sixth.

"Andruw made one of the best catches I've ever seen," Braves

manager Bobby Cox said. "I know I say it every time, but I didn't

think he had a chance on that ball."

Despite Jones' catch, the Dodgers loaded the bases again with

one out. But Hampton retired his final two hitters, striking out

pinch-hitter Orlando Saenz and getting Cesar Izturis on a grounder

to second that preserved a 5-0 lead.

"Next time, I'm going to tell him the bases are loaded every

inning before he goes out there," catcher Eddie Perez said.

Hampton has pitched well in his last two starts. He went the

distance against Arizona on Tuesday, giving up just two runs, only

to become an afterthought when Randy Johnson threw the 17th perfect

game in major league history.

"I didn't think I had been throwing the ball that poorly. It

was always one big inning or one big hit," Hampton said. "I was

due for some good luck. I got some today."

This one wasn't close to perfect. The Dodgers outhit the Braves

13-10, but stranded 13 runners.

"When you get one run and 13 hits, you have a definite

indication of what our problem is," manager Jim Tracy said. "We

continued to squander chances all day long."

Atlanta went ahead in the second after Wilson Alvarez (2-1)

walked the first two hitters. Green drove in the run with a double

to the left-center gap.

Green came through again in the fourth with an RBI single to

center. The rookie has played well since being called up from

Triple-A Richmond, batting .360 (9-for-25) with a five-game hitting


After Green was thrown out trying to steal second, Hampton hit

the next pitch deep into the left-field seats -- a 406-foot drive.

"I was looking fastball," he said. "I was able to catch it a

little early."

Jones homered for the second time in three games, hitting his

two-run shot in the fifth when Alvarez hung an 0-2 changeup.

Alvarez, making his fourth start after beginning the season in

the bullpen, was lifted for a pinch hitter after the fifth. He gave

up seven hits and three walks.

"I couldn't throw my changeup for strikes," Alvarez said.

"That's what got me in trouble."

The Dodgers scored their only run in the seventh off Kevin

Gryboski. Shawn Green's bad-hop single drove in Milton Bradley, who

had doubled.

Atlanta shortstop Rafael Furcal made his first start since May

1, when he jammed his right ring finger making a headfirst slide.

He was able to pinch-hit and pinch-run, but the sore finger made it

difficult for him to grip the ball.

Furcal bounced a throw to first for an error on the first ball

that came his way, but was flawless the rest of the game.Game notes
Furcal didn't have much success at the plate, going 0-for-4

with two strikeouts. ... Alvarez has given up six homers in his

last two starts. ... Jose Lima pitched two scoreless innings for

the Dodgers, lowering his ERA to 3.24 in 10 relief appearances. In

three starts, he gave up 11 runs in 13 innings (7.62). ... The

Dodgers lost for the ninth time in 10 games.