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Updated: Saturday, July 10, 2004 6:11 PM EDT
MLB RECAP
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ATLANTA 4, PHILADELPHIA 0
 

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Mike Hampton helped the Atlanta Braves rebound from one of their toughest losses of the season.

Hampton scattered five hits in eight innings and Charles Thomas hit two home runs, leading the Braves to a 4-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies .

Hampton (4-8), who walked two and struck out five, has put together consecutive wins for the first time this season and is 4-3 since an 0-5 start.

"I'm not where I want to be, but I can't get there overnight," Hampton said. "I know it's a long season... (I) just keep telling myself the numbers are gonna be there at the end.

"I was able to change speeds and use both sides of the plate probably more than I have in the past. It was effective today."

Hampton also beat the Phillies for the first time since September 23, 2000, when he was with the New York Mets .

"I didn't even know it," Hampton said. "Regardless of who I'm facing, I just try to come out and pitch a quality game and give my team a chance. It was just one of those games that went my way.

"I'd like to win every game I start, but it's just as important for this team. We've been playing pretty well, and after last night, this is a real big win. I'm glad that I could step up and have a good game, give us a chance to win this series."

On Friday, the Braves squandered a four-run lead run in the eighth inning and suffered a 7-6 loss in 10 innings after John Smoltz gave up a game-tying homer to Chase Utley in the ninth. But Atlanta manager Bobby Cox went right back to Smoltz, who bounced back with a perfect inning.

"Hampton gave us just a tremendous ballgame after a pretty darn tough loss last night," Cox said. "I thought he was one of the top pitchers in the league last year (in) the second half. He's turning it on right now."

In addition to his bat, Thomas also helped Hampton in the field. With a runner on first and one out in the Phillies' first, Thomas saved a potential run after making a backhanded diving catch on Bobby Abreu 's liner to left center.

"I probably called (for the ball) a little bit late," Thomas said. "(I was) just hoping I didn't run into Andruw (Jones), but I was able to get it."

The game then settled into a pitcher's duel between Hampton and Phils starter Paul Abbott (0-3). Hampton retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced and Abbott retired eight in a row before Thomas and Rafael Furcal hit solo homers off him in the fifth. Abbott surrendered five hits in six innings.

"I'm pleased that I gave our team a chance to win. I'm not pleased that we lost," Abbott said. "You want to go six, seven innings and have a quality start and I felt I did that today."

Thomas added a two-run shot in the seventh of Rheal Cormier .

"I don't hit too many, so it's nice to get a few here and there," Thomas said.

"He hits the ball pretty good every at-bat," Cox said. "We should all learn from his set-up at the plate. His mecahnics are good."

Philadelphia suffered its first shutout loss at home this season.


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