Mike Hampton deserved to get a win against the team that still pays him, going seven shutout innings. Unfortunately, the Braves blew the lead. Fortunately, Andruw was there to pick the bullpen up.
Hampton was effective in his Mike Hamptony way, going seven shutout innings with only three hits allowed. He also walked five with only one strikeout. I don’t believe in pitchers who can do that and be successful, but it seems to work for him. For now. Pitch count: 107, 60 of them strikes. His ERA for the season is now 2.52. We’ll see if he can keep this up.
Roberto Hernandez, who’s been so effective as a setup man, simply seemed overwhelmed, allowing two hits, two walks, and two runs in the eighth. Since the Braves had only scored one run, that was a major problem. Due to MLB’s asinine scoring rules, he gets the win even though he was awful and the other pitchers were good. To be fair to Hernandez, he did pretty well once he settled down and if he hadn’t kept his head about him things might have been much worse. Smoltz picked up the save, his thirteenth, getting Todd Helton to hit into a DP to end it.
Andruw saved the day in the bottom of the eighth. After Todd “Are You Looking At My Butt?” Jones got the first two hitters, Chipper walked, and Andruw (Joneses all around) homered to center to give the Braves the lead. The Braves got seven hits in all, with Robert Fick the only Brave with two.
Shane Reynolds gets another chance tonight to show why the Astros released him… I should probably point out that Ryan Langerhans was briefly with the club for two games in Arizona. He never got into a game, but was there while Gary Sheffield was on the bereavement list (which allows teams to replace players who leave the team to be with loved ones in situations like funerals).