Braves 7, Brewers 1
MILWAUKEE (AP)—Mike Hampton’s sinker was so sharp and his command so good that he was able to drive in more runs than he surrendered Thursday.
Hampton (9-5) struck out four and walked one in his first complete game since July 23, 2001. He didn’t allow a hit until Eddie Perez grounded a ball through the right side of the infield with two outs in the fifth.
“It wasn’t too much on my mind. I was just trying to put up zeros,” said Hampton, who took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning at Philadelphia in June. “We kind of broke it open in the middle innings and I got some breathing room.”
Hampton threw 78 strikes and only 27 balls. None of the first 12 hitters got the ball out of the infield.
“He was just in total command with that sinker. I think he’s got the best sinker in all of baseball,” Braves manager Bobby Cox marveled. “He can hit, too. He drove in two big runs.”
Hampton’s six-game winning streak is his best since he compiled a career-high 11-game winning streak in 1999, when he went 22-4 for the Houston Astros.
“He was good, he was very good,” Perez said. “And he got better when they scored those seven runs, too.”
Wes Obermueller (0-3) allowed seven earned runs on seven hits in 4 1-3 innings. He walked four and hit a batter and remained winless in five major league starts.
Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said Obermueller made the mistake most rookies do when they face a potent lineup like Atlanta’s: they try to do too much and they get away from what got the to the majors.
“Young pitchers, when they face a club of that magnitude, they get up there and they just don’t trust their stuff. They don’t think their stuff is good enough to get hitters like that out and they think they have to be a little bit finer—which is not the case,” Yost said.
Obermueller acknowledged he had gotten himself psyched out by the Braves’ meaty lineup.
“I gave them too much credit,” he said. “You’ve got to give them credit. They’re awesome.”
Perez said Obermueller, whom the Brewers acquired from Kansas City last month in the Curtis Leskanic trade, will learn his lesson.
“He’s got a great arm, man. I like him. I like him a lot. He’s young and hopefully today he’s going to learn a lot,” Perez said.
Vinny Castilla gave Hampton all the cushion he’d need with a triple and a homer in his first two at-bats.
Castilla’s two-run triple gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead in the second. His sinking liner skipped just beneath the glove of center fielder Scott Podsednik and rolled to the track. His 18th homer, a 435-foot shot off the scoreboard in center field, made it 3-0 in the fourth.
The Braves loaded the bases with nobody out in the third and fifth innings against Obermueller, who got out of the first jam without allowing a run but was less fortunate the second time around.
After Castilla struck out, Hampton doubled home two runs off Luis Vizcaino when Podsednik slipped and the ball bounced past him, making it 7-0.
Yost didn’t begrudge his rookie for the difficult day in center.
“He tried to make a great play on that line drive and it just kept sinking on him,” Yost said. “And then he slipped on the other ball. It wasn’t sloppyplay. He just slipped.”
Hampton threw 105 pitches, 78 strikes. … Brewers LF Geoff Jenkins returned to the lineup after bruising his right knee and leaving the game in the seventh Wednesday when he made a catch against the wall. … RHP Mike Jones, the Brewers’ first-round pick (12th overall) in 2001 and a member of the Double-A Huntsville team, traveled to Milwaukee to have his tender right elbowexamined Friday.