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News » Rainy night in Georgia a loss ASTROS: Berkman makes key error Hampton gets rude reception from Braves, fans as Astros tumble


Rainy night in Georgia a loss ASTROS: Berkman makes key error Hampton gets rude reception from Braves, fans as Astros tumble


Rainy night in Georgia a loss ASTROS: Berkman makes key error Hampton gets rude reception from Braves, fans as Astros tumble
ATLANTA - At each mention of Mike Hampton's name Friday night, the folks at Turner Field showered the Astros lefthander with a stifling chorus of boos.

Hampton, a member of the Braves organization from 2003 until 2008, got a miserable reception from his former fans.

His former teammates didn't greet him nicely either, completing a 7-2 victory over the Astros after a rain delay of two hours, two minutes before the start of the eighth inning.

Hampton missed the 2006 and 2007 seasons with injury problems and made only 25 starts from 2005 through 2008. Still, the Braves wanted to re-sign him this winter. He chose to take less money to sign with the Astros , and that decision didn't sit well with the crowd of 29,309.

Dealing with the poor reception was the easy part. Handling Braves hitters was a problem in the start of the three-game series. The Astros are 2-2 on their eight-game trip through Cincinnati, Atlanta and Washington.

Hampton, who exited with the bases loaded and only one out in the Braves' four-run fifth inning, gave up five hits and six runs (five earned) with two walks over 41/3 innings.

"I'm used to that," Hampton (1-2) said of the reception. "Colorado, New York, it's just part of the game. I understand that. I just wish I had pitched a little better. I didn't have a whole lot tonight, which was pretty obvious.

"I tried to battle as long as I could. I just made some mistakes in some crucial situations, and they took advantage of it."

Righthander Derek Lowe (3-1) held the Astros to eight hits and two runs with two walks and three strikeouts over 62/3 innings.

Bourn on a roll

Michael Bourn, whom manager Cecil Cooper considered the Astros' player of the month in April, got the month of May started with a one-out triple to right in the first inning. Lance Berkman followed with an RBI groundout to second, giving the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Carlos Lee followed with a double and Miguel Tejada reached on Lowe's error, but Hunter Pence grounded out to short to end the inning.

Jeff Francoeur countered in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run to center to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead.

"We just got to make quality pitches, and we're not making them at key times," Cooper said. "That's the bottom line. It's not only Mike, but it's happened with my bullpen in some games. We just need to consistently make quality pitches, and we're not."

Bourn had a chance to at least tie the score with two on and two out in the second, but he grounded out.

Bourn, who was 3-for-5, atoned a bit in the bottom of the second by sprinting back, making a leaping grab and bouncing off the wall to catch Clint Sammons' line drive at the warning track.

"It's a good feeling," Bourn said after learning Cooper called him the player of the month for April. "But it's just the beginning of the season. In the first month, I set a good foundation. I know I can even do better."

Hampton tied the score at 2-2 with a fielder's choice grounder to third in the fourth. An inning later, Atlanta pulled away with a four-run rally to go ahead 6-2 with an assist from Berkman.

"I tried to pitch well, and I really didn't have a whole lot tonight," Hampton said. "I didn't have good command of either side of the plate. And my sinker wasn't sinking all that great."

Big fifth for Braves

Matt Diaz led off the fifth with a single up the middle. One out later, Jordan Schafer drew a walk. Lowe followed with a sacrifice bunt down the left side. Berkman charged past Hampton to make the play between the third-base line and the mound.

Berkman missed the ball on his first attempt to pick it up. Once he grabbed it, he threw wide of first. Kaz Matsui, who was covering the bag, had to leap to keep the errant throw from landing in the outfield or the stands.

Lowe reached safely and loaded the bases on Berkman's error. Omar Infante then broke the tie with a two-run single to left. Yunel Escobar followed with an RBI double to left.

Hampton intentionally walked Chipper Jones to load the bases and let righthanded reliever Geoff Geary take over. Francoeur welcomed Geary with an RBI single to right field, making it 6-2.

jesus.ortiz@chron.com

Astros update

Friday: Braves 7, Astros 2.

Record: 9-14.

Today: Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, 2:30 p.m.

Pitchers: Roy Oswalt (0-2) vs. Jair Jurrjens (2-2).

TV/radio: Fox; 740 AM and 1010 AM (Spanish).


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 5, 2009

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