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Updated: Sunday, July 25, 2004 5:57 PM EDT
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ATLANTA 4, NY METS 3
 

FLUSHING, New York (Ticker) -- Mike Hampton 's fortunes changed with the season.

Hampton pitched effectively into the seventh and J.D. Drew homered to extend his hitting streak to 21 games as the Atlanta Braves completed a rain-shortened two-game sweep of the New York Mets with a 4-3 victory.

A member of the Mets' 2000 National League championship team, Hampton was pounded by New York in two April starts, allowing 13 runs in 6 2/3 innings. The veteran lefthander had just one win through June 18, but is 5-1 over his last six starts, including wins in all four outings this month.

"Hammy's starting to get on a role again, just like last year," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He's not giving up the cheap hits which sometimes happens to sinkerball pitchers. He's gotten away from those."

Hampton (6-8) allowed three runs and five hits in six-plus innings while striking out two. He left after allowing a leadoff single to Mike Cameron in the seventh and was greeted to another chorus of boos from Shea Stadium fans.

"I sort of know what to expect coming here," said Hampton, who won nine straight games in July and August of last season. "I've never been one to put too much emphasis on what people say, unless you're talking about my mama."

Kevin Gryboski relieved and allowed an RBI single to Jose Reyes , who had a career-high four hits. Chris Reitsma started the eighth and John Smoltz recorded the final four outs for his 20th save and second in as many days, striking out Reyes for the final out.

The Braves (52-45) have won 19 of their last 25 games and are a season-high seven games over .500.

The loss completed a 3-7 homestand for the Mets, who begin a 13-game road trip Monday in Montreal.

"We've had opportunities to manufacture things, but we haven't gotten the big hit. Then we shoot ourselves in the foot with a few errors," Cameron said. "We have to keep our concentration and come out ready to play."

New York's Steve Trachsel (9-7) allowed four runs in seven innings, but only one of those runs were earned due to errors by third baseman David Wright and shortstop Kaz Matsui.

The Braves went ahead 3-2 in the fifth on an RBI single by Andruw Jones . The base hit to center scored Drew, who walked and went to second when Matsui booted a ground ball by Chipper Jones . Drew homered in the seventh to give Atlanta a 4-2 cushion.

"I've just had good aggressive at-bats," said Drew, who has eight homers during the streak and has reached base in 39 straight games. "I'm not going to change anything."

Matsui tied the game at 2-2 in the third with an RBI single, but Hampton escaped further damage when third baseman Chipper Jones made a leaping catch of a line drive by Richard Hidalgo to end the inning.

An error by Wright contributed to a two-run second. Adam Laroche singled to center and Wright booted a ground ball by Eddie Perez to put runners on first and second. Thomas sacrificed before Hampton drove in a run with a groundout. Rafael Furcal followed with an RBI double to left field.


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