for this game

Sammons, Hampton spark Braves past Cardinals

Aug 1, 2008 - 3:51 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- In a season that has turned upside down for the Atlanta Braves, the bottom of the order helped end a long losing streak.

Clint Sammons smashed his first career homer and drove in three runs and Mike Hampton drove in two runs in his second start of the year as the Braves salvaged the finale of a four-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals with a 9-4 win on Thursday.

Omar Infante homered and drove in three runs and Yunel Escobar and Mark Kotsay each drove in a run for the Braves, who snapped a five-game losing streak.

"It's something this team needed right now," Sammons said. "The last five or six games, you could definitely tell our morale was down."

In a week where things have gone from bad to worse, the club finally had something to smile about on Thursday. On a rainy night when recording star Jewel sang the national anthem, the Braves finally brought their "A" game, pounding out 15 hits.

The newest Brave, Sammons, and Hampton - their oft-injured and highest-paid player, who has had been injured in more places than the patient from the battery-operated game "Operation" - combined to drive in five runs in the contest.

Sammons, who was recalled from Class AAA Richmond on Monday after catcher Brian McCann got hurt, drove in his first major league run to knot the contest at 4-4 in the fourth before delivering the game-winning blow two frames later.

The 25-year-old catcher, who played alongside Atlanta right fielder Jeff Francoeur at Parkview High School in suburban Atlanta, smashed the 1-1 offering from St. Louis starter Joel Pineiro (3-5) into the left-center field bleachers. The two-run blast was the first homer of the rookie's brief major league career.

"It's something you'll remember forever," Sammons said. "To get a homer and to give us a chance to get the lead was definitely a positive. It was a great memory. I think that's the best ball I hit all year."

Sammons capped his 3-for-4 evening with a single in the eighth.

"Growing up here and going to games here and having a chance to (homer) in your hometown is something special," added Sammons, who homered in front of his wife, parents and in-laws.

Making just his second major league start since 2005, the 35-year-old Hampton reminded Braves fans that he can hit, too. Hampton plated Atlanta's second run with a double in the second and gave the Braves a 4-3 lead in the fourth on a fielder's choice.

"I was running harder than I was running fast," Hampton joked. "I'm just superglued together. I was just hoping something didn't fall off on the way to second base."

The lefthander allowed four runs and seven hits and walked four without a strikeout over five innings, but did not factor in the decision after allowing a run in the fifth.

"The competitor in me wants to be perfect right away," Hampton said. "But I know it's going to take a little time. I was a little more comfortable this time. I felt I got better."

Atlanta manager Bobby Cox agreed.

"Hampton, I'm sure, is not thrilled with what he did," Cox said. "But for the second start in three years, it's not bad at all. He can still hit, too, but his arm is fine. We'll see what he'll do the rest of the year."

Hampton's return could not come at a better time for the injury-ravaged Braves, who have endured a rough stretch of late.

The club blew leads of five and six runs in their weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies before losing All-Stars Chipper Jones to the disabled list and McCann to a concussion.

To add insult to the many injuries on the ballclub, the Braves learned that staff ace Tim Hudson may be lost for the season as the club dealt team RBI leader Mark Teixeira at the trade deadline.

The Atlanta bullpen has also been missing in action over the stretch, coughing up 30 runs in 22 frames in the club's recent slide.

The relief corps rebounded in this one.

Jeff Bennett (2-4) hurled two scoreless frames to record the victory before Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez closed out the contest by hurling a scoreless frame each.

Pineiro allowed six runs and 10 hits while striking out two without a walk over six frames to record his first loss since June 27. He also doubled home a run in the fourth.

"I'm not pitching the way I should be pitching," said Pineiro, who has won just once since April. "I let my team down and myself down. ... In a word, I've been bad. That's why the numbers are the way they are."

Albert Pujols drove in two runs for the Cardinals, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.






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    Micah Greeson Added 5 roots

    Cardinals 4, Braves 9  FinalFeb 20 8:27 PM


  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ST LOUIS 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 4 8 0
    ATLANTA 0 2 0 2 0 2 2 1 x 9 15 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: STL - JOEL PINEIRO, KELVIN JIMENEZ (7TH) AND JASON LARUE
    ATL - MIKE HAMPTON, JEFF BENNETT (6TH), RAFAEL SORIANO
    (8TH), MIKE GONZALEZ (9TH) AND CLINT SAMMONS

    HOME

    Jul 31 10:01 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY YUNEL ESCOBAR SCORED CLINT SAMMONS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, Y ESCOBAR ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 4
    ATLANTA 9 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: M KOTSAY (.291, 2-FOR-4, RBI)

    Cardinals 4, Braves 9  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 31 9:47 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY OMAR INFANTE SCORED MARK KOTSAY.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, O INFANTE ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 4
    ATLANTA 8 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: K JOHNSON (.270, 2-FOR-3)

    Cardinals 4, Braves 8  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 31 9:24 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MARK KOTSAY SCORED YUNEL ESCOBAR.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M KOTSAY ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 4
    ATLANTA 7 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: C KOTCHMAN (.000, 0-FOR-3)

    Cardinals 4, Braves 7  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 31 9:22 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CLINT SAMMONS (1) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF JOEL PINEIRO SCORED KELLY JOHNSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 4, ATLANTA 6
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J BENNETT (.143, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Cardinals 4, Braves 6  Bot 6, 0 OutsJul 31 9:03 PM
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    Cardinals 4, Braves 4  Bot 5, 0 OutsJul 31 8:44 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN LUDWICK SCORED JOE MATHER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R LUDWICK ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 4
    ATLANTA 4 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: N STAVINOHA (.211, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Cardinals 4, Braves 4  Top 5, 0 OutsJul 31 8:42 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY MIKE HAMPTON SCORED KELLY JOHNSON.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M HAMPTON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 3
    ATLANTA 4 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: G BLANCO (.266, 0-FOR-2)

    Cardinals 3, Braves 4  Bot 4, 0 OutsJul 31 8:29 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CLINT SAMMONS SCORED OMAR INFANTE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C SAMMONS ON FIRST, K JOHNSON ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 3
    ATLANTA 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: M HAMPTON (.333, 1-FOR-1, RBI)

    Cardinals 3, Braves 3  Bot 4, 0 OutsJul 31 8:26 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JOEL PINEIRO SCORED NICK STAVINOHA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J PINEIRO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 3
    ATLANTA 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: B RYAN (.242, 0-FOR-1)

    Cardinals 3, Braves 2  Top 4, 0 OutsJul 31 8:15 PM
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    Cardinals 2, Braves 2  Top 4, 0 OutsJul 31 8:10 PM
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    Cardinals 2, Braves 2  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 31 7:57 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MIKE HAMPTON SCORED JEFF FRANCOEUR.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M HAMPTON ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 2
    ATLANTA 2 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: G BLANCO (.267, 0-FOR-1)

    Cardinals 2, Braves 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsJul 31 7:51 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY OMAR INFANTE (3) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    2ND OFF JOEL PINEIRO.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 2, ATLANTA 1
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: K JOHNSON (.267, 9 HR, 43 RBI)

    Cardinals 2, Braves 1  Bot 2, 0 OutsJul 31 7:43 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ST LOUIS 2 2 2 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: STL - JOEL PINEIRO
    ATL - MIKE HAMPTON

    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: G BLANCO (.268, 1 HR, 25 RBI)
    Y ESCOBAR (.281, 6 HR, 39 RBI)
    M KOTSAY (.287, 4 HR, 28 RBI)

    Cardinals 2, Braves 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 31 7:27 PM