PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Mike Hampton has few explanations for the
turnaround that's made him one of baseball's best pitchers over the
past few weeks.
Hampton pitched two-hit ball over eight innings and Andruw Jones
hit a two-run homer to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 5-3 victory
over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
"Confidence is pretty high and, in this game, when you've got
confidence anything can happen," Hampton said.
Braves, who went 20-8 this month, marking just their second 20-win
August since moving to Atlanta from Milwaukee after the 1965
season. They also did it in 1999, going 21-7.
The Braves got another strong effort from Hampton (11-9), who
retired the first 10 batters before allowing a single in the
fourth. Hampton walked one and struck out one while improving to
10-2 in his last 12 starts and 3-0 this season against the
"It seems like he always pitches great against us," manager
Larry Bowa said.
Hampton said he's made few adjustments since his 1-7 start and
is the beneficiary of more good breaks.
"I felt like I didn't pitch that poorly," he said. "I didn't
pitch great, but with a couple of bounces or hops going my way that
I still could have got off to a pretty good start. Things are just
going my way."
John Smoltz -- used because he hadn't pitched since Friday -- gave
up two runs in the ninth on a wild pitch and Jim Thome's RBI single
before striking out Mike Lieberthal with runners on first and
The Phillies showed some signs of life in the NL wild-card race
after a three-game sweep of Milwaukee last weekend, but an
interleague loss at Chicago and another lethargic performance at
home made postseason play a real longshot.
It's been a stunning six-week slide for the Phillies. Atlanta
and Philadelphia were tied for first in the NL East after splitting
a two-game series July 19-20. The Braves' lead over the Phillies
has swelled to a whopping 12½ games since.
"It looks like Philadelphia's going through the same thing we
were going through with all their injured guys out," Braves
manager Bobby Cox said.
Eric Milton (13-3) battled back spasms and gave up seven hits,
three runs -- two earned -- and walked five in six innings. Milton
was 11-2 on July 4, but the free-agent lefty is 2-1 with eight
A win would've made Milton the first Phillies pitcher to start
14-2 in 114 years. Instead, he was done in by little offensive
support and the long ball, giving up his NL-worst 37th homer.
Milton allowed a one-out single to Johnny Estrada in the sixth
and Jones followed with his 22nd homer, a two-run shot that was
caught by a fan in the front row of the right-field seats for a 3-1
"I've had balls that people have caught over the wall before.
I'll take that one," Jones said.
A television replay showed the fan leaned over the wall for the
catch, then tossed the ball back onto the field.
"That's the way the year's gone," Milton said. "Off the bat,
I thought it was an out."
single to left in the seventh, making it 5-1.
The Braves could've bust the game open in the seventh, but
Phillies left fielder Jason Michaels made a nice hard-charging,
diving catch on a low liner to rob Chipper Jones of a two-out hit
with the bases loaded.
The Braves took a 1-0 lead in third when Chipper Jones walked
and Franco singled to center. Franco's hit one-hopped to center
fielder Marlon Byrd, who stabbed at the ball and missed, allowing
the ball to roll to the wall and for Jones to score.
The Phillies tied it at 1 in the fifth on a solo homer to left
by Lieberthal.Game notes
The Phillies recalled slugging 1B Ryan Howard and C A.J.
Hinch from Triple-A Scranton. ... The Braves optioned RHP Roman
Colon to Double-A Greenville and recalled OF Dewayne Wise from
Triple-A Richmond. ... Philadelphia placed LHP Randy Wolf on the
disabled list with tendinitis in his left elbow. The Phillies
recalled INF Shawn Wooten from Triple-A Scranton. ... Drew extended
his hitting streak to 10 games with a seventh-inning single. ...
The Braves had double-digit hits for the 11th straight game, the
longest streak in the majors since Seattle also did it in 11
straight in 2001.
- Home Plate Umpire - Phil Cuzzi
- First Base Umpire - Rob Drake
- Second Base Umpire - Brian Onora
- Third Base Umpire - Jerry Crawford