Despite giving up four earned runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings last Saturday, Hampton earned a win as the Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4.
“It feels great,” Hampton said after winning his fifth straight decision for the first time since the beginning of the 2001 season. “Run support takes care of a lot of that. I’ve been fortunate to be on the mound when we’ve scored some runs.”
The veteran left-hander has allowed 21 runs in 41 innings during his current winning streak, earning a 4.61 ERA. However, he has received an average of 7.8 runs in that span from Atlanta’s offense, which leads the National League in runs (635) and is tied for first in the league in batting average (.285).
“I don’t have to go out there thinking I have to throw a shutout or give up one or two runs,” he said. “If you make a quality start with our offense, that’s good enough to win.”
Since joining the Braves in the offseason, Hampton has failed to regain the form that earned him a National League-best 22 wins in 1999 and helped him lead the New York Mets to the 2000 World Series.
However, the Braves’ offense has guided him to a respectable 8-5 record while helping the rest of the pitching staff make up for the loss of starters Tom Glavine, Kevin Millwood and Damian Moss, all of whom were traded in the offseason to cut costs.
Pitching had been the cornerstone of a team that won 11 straight division titles, but the Braves have a 4.30 ERA this season, ranking them ninth in the NL. However, Atlanta has still managed to post the best record in baseball.
On Thursday, the Braves pounded the Brewers 10-2, avoiding their first three-game losing streak since dropping their season-opening series to Montreal.
Reliever Brooks Kieschnick hit a two-run homer for the Brewers, who have lost four of their last five.
STANDINGS: Braves - 1st place, NL East. Brewers - 6th place, 16 GB, NL Central.
BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Hampton (8-5, 4.67 ERA). Hampton is 2-2 with a 3.23 ERA in nine career starts against the Brewers.
BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Wes Obermueller (0-2, 3.00 ERA). Obermueller has lost both of his starts this season. On July 30, he gave up two runs, one earned, and three hits in six innings of a 2-0 setback to the New York Mets. The 27-year-old right-hander has never faced the Braves.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Braves - Gary Sheffield, .328 avg. and 88 RBIs; Javy Lopez, 30 HRs; Rafael Furcal, 94 runs and 18 SBs. Brewers - Scott Podsednik, .303 avg. and 23 SBs; Richie Sexson, 31 HRs, 84 RBIs and 68 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Braves, 3-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Braves - Before the game, RHP Darren Holmes was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder. To replace him, the Braves purchased the contract of RHP Will Cunnane from Triple-A Richmond. … 2B Giles’ multihomer game Wednesday was his second of the season and third of his career. CF Andruw Jones’ was the 18th of his career and first since Sept. 25, 2002. … 2B Giles, who hit his 37th double of the season Wednesday, needs just one more to tie Bret Boone’s team record for second baseman in a season. The team record is 41, held by LF Chipper Jones. Brewers - LF Geoff Jenkins left Wednesday’s game in the seventh inning with a bruised right knee and is listed as day-to-day. … INF Wes Helms sat out his fifth straight game Wednesday with tightness in his right hamstring. … Manager Ned Yost still has not decided on a starter for Saturday. Recent call-up RHP David Manning is listed in the game notes, but Yost said he would not make a decision until consulting with general manager Doug Melvin.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Braves - 34-22 on the road; Brewers - 20-36 at home.
INJURIES: Braves - RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Trey Hodges (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Holmes (shoulder), 15-day DL. Brewers - RHP Jayson Durocher (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Matt Ford (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Nick Neugebauer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Ruben Quevedo (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Todd Ritchie (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Glendon Rusch (groin), 15-day DL; LF Jenkins (knee), day-to-day; INF Helms (hamstring), day-to-day.