Braves' Hampton throttles Nationals in easy win
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The
' franchise is nothing new.
getting off to a quick start is a bit surprising.
The veteran lefthander allowed a run and seven hits in eight innings and
hit two-run homers in the fifth as the Braves recorded an 11-2 triumph over the Nationals.
Hampton (1-0) has a lifetime record of 134-98 but is just 19-18 with a 4.59 ERA in starts in March and April. However, in a revamped Atlanta rotation in which his production is key, Hampton has enjoyed a quick start to this season.
"I think a little more in the offseason, I tried to be ahead of schedule than in other spring trainings," Hampton said. "I think it's paying off."
After opening 2005 by allowing a run in seven innings against the
on Wednesday, Hampton was even better in this one, scattering five singles, a double and a homer. The 32-year-old Hampton did not walk a batter and struck out two, throwing 65 of 91 pitches for strikes.
"It's been two games, but I feel comfortable with my control," Hampton said. "I feel comfortable with my pitches, I feel comfortable with my arm slot. Health-wise, I feel strong, and mentally, I feel strong."
"He threw a lot of strikes," Nationals center fielder
said. "He had control of all of his pitches. He was very aggressive. We didn't take advantage of early opportunities. Hampton was the same old Hampton. He got a lot of ground-ball outs."
Atlanta carried a 3-0 lead into the fifth, when homers by Furcal and Jones against Montreal starter
turned the contest into a rout. The home runs were the first of the season for both players.
"He just threw me a little sinker up and in," said Jones, who led all major leaguers with 10 homers in spring training. "I just had a good swing on it. Spring training is spring training. It's not like I've never hit a home run before in my life."
The Braves have won 12 of their last 14 meetings with the Nationals franchise and have not lost a series to them since the opening three games of the 2003 campaign - a span of 11 series.
"I don't know what it is," Atlanta first baseman
said of his team's success against Washington. "I know we're always relaxed playing them. It seems like everybody's out there having more fun than against a team like the (Florida) Marlins."
"They have our number right now," Washington second baseman
said. "I'm pretty sure that they have a pretty good scouting report against us."
Day (0-1) allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. In nine career outings against the Braves, he is 1-5 with a 10.93 ERA.
"In the past, they've hit my mistakes," Day said. "They've had a good approach. They fouled off a couple of pitches, and when I made a mistake, they made me pay."
's third homer of the season accounted for Washington's lone run against Hampton. The homer snapped a 15-inning scoreless streak for the Nationals, who have scored five runs over their last four games.
"This was not a pretty sight," Nationals manager
said. "This was not a good effort. ... This was an ugly ballgame, period."
The crowd of 16,584 was the smallest in the history of Turner Field.