Mike Hampton will try to push his unbeaten streak to seven starts and reach .500 for the first time this season as the first-place Atlanta Braves continue a three-game series with the visiting Milwaukee Brewers.
A 14-game winner last season in his first year with the Braves, Hampton hasn’t lost since June 29 against Florida—going 5-0 in his last six starts.
The 31-year-old left-hander did not receive a decision in the Braves’ 6-5 victory at Houston on Thursday. He allowed five earned runs on seven hits and issued a season-high six walks in 4 1-3 innings— his shortest outing since he lasted just three innings on June 2.
“I felt it was some of the best stuff I’ve had all year,” said Hampton, who had a 2.62 ERA during his five-start win streak. “I just couldn’t get any consistency or get on a roll. Luckily, I was bailed out by a good offense.”
The Braves wasted seven strong innings by John Thomson on Tuesday, and lost the opener 3-2 in 10 innings. Eli Marrero and Julio Franco had an RBI apiece for Atlanta, whose season-high winning streak ended at five games.
“It’s only one game,” Atlanta center fielder Andruw Jones said.
Little-used reserve Chris Magruder hit his first home run of the season in the 10th, and Lyle Overbay added one for the Brewers, who won their second straight and avoided falling into last place in the NL Central. It was Magruder’s first NL homer. He had seven in parts of three seasons in the AL, but has spent most of 2004 with Triple-A Indianapolis and has only two starts with the Brewers.
“If I lead off the 10th inning, I’m looking for a base hit, not a home run,” Magruder said. “I got a base hit, and it happened to be for four bases. But I don’t consider myself a home run hitter.”