SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -
asked himself many a time in recent years: ''Am I being told something? Is it time to go, to pack it up?''
Not just yet.
Hampton earned his first victory in nearly three years and hit an RBI double, leading the
San Francisco Giants
11-4 on Tuesday night.
The 35-year-old Hampton felt great about this outing. He was the closest to his old self he can remember in a long time. He
hadn't won since Aug. 14, 2005, for the Braves against Arizona - 1,087 days earlier - and wondered if he would ever get another
'W' by his name.
''There's always been some doubt with all the things I've been through, all the health issues,'' Hampton said. ''I just kept
pushing to get to this point I'm at today. One thing I've learned through this whole process is don't take anything for granted
- cherish every single one of them.''
And this was just his third start of 2008 after he returned July 26 following a nearly three-year absence in which the two-time
All-Star underwent two major surgeries on his left elbow.
This season, he was sidelined by both a strained chest muscle and an injured groin.
''He was the bulldog Hampton tonight,'' Braves manager
said. ''He had the super-duper sinker going. He was just outstanding. Hopefully he's not too sore tomorrow. It's been a long
time since he's done this. The bulldog was on the attack, getting ahead of hitters. It's big for the team to get Mike a win.''
Hampton (1-0) allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings and improved to 14-4 in 25 career appearances against the Giants
with his first win over them since May 11, 2003, which also was his last start versus San Francisco. He lowered his ERA from
10.00 to 6.75.
Hampton drove in his third run of the year during a stretch of three straight two-out doubles off Giants starter
(8-8) in the fifth.
led off the inning with a single and scored when
grounded into a double play two batters later.
doubled, Hampton followed with his second hit of 2008 and
doubled Hampton home moments later.
''He started making some mistakes,'' Giants manager
said of Sanchez. ''He was getting up there as far as his pitch count and he started elevating a little bit, and that's a dangerous
club over there. They swing the bats.''
Escobar also had a sacrifice fly for the Braves, who will secure their first series win in four tries if they take Wednesday's
had a two-run double during Atlanta's five-run ninth, when
also doubled in a run and pinch-hitter
The Giants rallied in the eighth, getting back-to-back RBI singles by
each struck out a batter with runners on first and second to end the threat.
ended a 12-game homerless streak by San Francisco with a solo shot leading off the seventh and
drove in the first run for the Giants, who had won three of four.
But Lewis' drive was about Hampton's only mistake.
''That's about as comfortable as I could feel,'' Hampton said. ''I'm pretty excited to get one. It feels great. ... I'll have
a chance to reflect on it the next few days.''
Bochy said the Giants might discuss whether skipping a start by Sanchez or decreasing his workload could be a good idea considering
his recent struggles. But the left-hander, in his first full season as a starter, looked much better commanding his pitches
during this outing. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter for the first time all year.
He went 0-3 with an 8.57 ERA in July and is winless in six starts since June 29.
Cox said injured starter
would make his third rehab appearance Saturday for Double-A Mississippi. Glavine has been on the disabled list since June
11 with a strained left elbow.
Notes: Hampton hadn't gone more than five innings since May 8, 2005. ... Unemployed and indicted home run king
, 44, has been invited to Saturday's pregame festivities honoring past Giants outfielders from the last five decades, part
of the club's 50th anniversary celebration. No word yet whether No. 25 will show, though considering he hasn't been to the
ballpark in any official capacity since the Giants parted ways with him in September it seems unlikely. Unlike Bonds, the
rest of the players invited are retired. ... Friends and fans of longtime Braves broadcaster Skip Caray, who died on Sunday,
were invited to attend a memorial service in Atlanta on Monday. A separate private service is planned for family members and
the Braves are planning to honor Caray on Tuesday at Turner Field. ... Recently retired San Francisco LHP
has begun work as a pitching instructor for the organization and will soon begin working with players at Class-A San Jose.