St. Louis (9-10) at Atlanta (12-9)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Thu Apr 24, 2003
  • TV: FSMW, TBS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Mike Hampton was not happy with the way he pitched in his first outing.

He’ll look to deliver a better performance as the Atlanta Braves try to complete a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field.

Hampton missed the first several weeks of the season after injuring his right calf on a treadmill just three days before the season opener. When he finally made his debut last Saturday, he was not pleased with his effort.

Lasting five innings in a 4-0 loss to Philadelphia, Hampton gave up all four runs while allowing six hits and four walks.

“I definitely have some work to do,” said Hampton, who threw only 47 of his 85 pitches for strikes. “I’m not pleased by any means with how I threw. But it’s something to work with. I’ll be better next time.”

The veteran left-hander is trying to bounce back from two dismal seasons in Colorado, where he went 21-28 with a 5.75 ERA after signing a $121 million, eight-year contract before the 2001 season.

The Braves acquired Hampton from Florida in November, two days after the Marlins got him from the Rockies. He’ll now try to help the Braves earn their second sweep in their last three series.

After taking Tuesday’s series opener 5-3, Atlanta won 4-2 on Wednesday.

Staff ace Greg Maddux pitched shutout ball for seven innings in his best start of the season, while Marcus Giles and Gary Sheffield each had two RBIs to lead the Braves.

The Braves have rebounded from a slow start to win eight of nine, pulling into a tie with the Phillies and Montreal Expos atop the National League East.

STANDINGS: Cardinals - 4th place, 3 GB, NL Central. Braves - 1st place (tied), NL East.

CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTER: Woody Williams (3-0, 0.00 ERA). Williams has been brilliant this season, allowing no runs in any of his first three starts— a span of 19 2-3 innings. Last Friday, he had perhaps his best start, as he limited Arizona to three hits through seven innings of a 6-3 win. In three career games against the Braves, Williams is 2-1 with a 1.99 ERA.

BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Hampton (0-1, 7.20 ERA). In 24 career appearances against the Cardinals, Hampton is 10-7 with a 3.51 ERA.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cardinals - Jim Edmonds, .396 avg. and 16 RBIs; Edmonds and Scott Rolen, 5 HRs; Edgar Renteria, 16 runs; Fernando Vina, 3 SBs. Braves - Sheffield, .360 avg., 6 HRs and 20 runs; Andruw Jones, 17 RBIs; Rafael Furcal, 5 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Braves, 2-0.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - 2B Vina is batting .323 (10-for-31) in his career against Hampton. … 1B Tino Martinez went 1-for-4 Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. … 3B Rolen has just one hit in his last 20 at-bats. Braves - RHP John Smoltz has converted his last 24 save opportunities dating to last season. He has not allowed a run in eight appearances this year. … 3B Vinny Castilla is batting .409 (9-for-22) with four homers and seven RBIs in his career against Williams. … RF Sheffield is 4-for-7 with five RBIs in the series’ first two games.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 5-6 on the road; Braves - 7-5 at home.

INJURIES: Cardinals - C Joe Girardi (back), 15-day DL; C Steve Torrealba (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Isringhausen (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Lance Painter (pelvis), 15-day DL; RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Gene Stechschulte (shoulder), 60-day DL. Braves - IF Robert Fick (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

W. Williams Hou vs. M. Hampton Ari
18-9 Record 14-8
3.87 ERA 3.84
153 K 110
55 BB 78
1.25 WHIP 1.39