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Hampton Shutout Dumps Tribe


Mike Hampton was in total control against the Cleveland Indians.

Hampton pitched a four-hitter to lead the Houston Astros to a season-high seventh straight win, a 2-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.

"You don't expect to do something like that against that lineup," Hampton said. "I was fortunate. I was able to get some ground balls when I needed them and the defense was outstanding."

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  • "I was focused, but not so focused that I didn't notice David Cone had pitched a perfect game (against Montreal). So I guess I'll take a back seat."

    Hampton (12-3) went the distance for the third time this season. He allowed two walks and struck out eight. No Cleveland runner advanced past second base, as only two of the hits got out of the infield.

    "It was one of the best games I've ever seen him pitch," manager Larry Dierker said. "It was no accident. He had good stuff, he changed speeds and he hit the corners."

    Hampton didn't allow a hit until Kenny Lofton led off the fourth with an infield single. The Indians' second hit was a slow roller to third base that the Astros didn't field, hoping it would roll foul. It hit the base fair.

    "I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will see that box score tomorrow who will be impressed," Dierker said. "If you had told me Hampton was going to shut the Indians out before the game, I would've said, `I'll take that bet.' But after five innings, it was obvious he had great stuff."

    Enrique Wilson's single up the middle with two outs in the fifth was the first Cleveland hit out of the infield.

    "I knew I was going to have to be at my best to beat these guys," Hampton said. "Fortunately, today I was."

    His teammates agreed.

    "Hampy pitched a great game," Craig Biggio said. "That's one of the best lineups in baseball, and he did a fantastic job against them."

    Cleveland manager was impressed, but not surprised by Hampton's performance.

    "Today it just didn't work for our guys," Hargrove said. "A lot of that had to do with Hampton. He was awfully good today. But he's won 12 games. He's done this to a lot of people, not just the Cleveland Indians."

    Jaret Wright (7-6) pitched five innings, allowed one run and three hits, struck out three and walked three. He retired 10 of the last 11 hitters he faced, including nine straight, before leaving the game with tightness in his right shoulder blade in the sixth.

    "I felt it in my last start before the All-Star break," Wright said. "But I thought with the break, I'd be all right. Then it started hurting before the game today. It just feels like a knot in my shoulder. I don't know how long it will take to heal."

    "Hampton threw an awesome game against an awesome lineup. He was on today. He shined."

    Cleveland, which gave up 24 runs in its previous two games, and 43 in its last five, has lost a season-high three straight games and five of its last seven.

    It was only the second time this season the Indians have been shut out. The last time was 3-0 against Toronto on June 24.

    The Astros scored when Glen Barker beat out a slow infield bouncer for a single with one out in the second inning. Hampton walked and Biggio singled to left to drive in Barker.

    Houston added an insurance run in the ninth when Biggio scored on Richard Hidalgo's groundout to third.

    Notes:

  • The Astros designated catcher Randy Knorr for assignment and recalled infielder Carlos Hernandez from Triple-A New Orleans.
  • The Astros lead the National League with 182 doubles and Biggio leads the majors with 39. Biggio is on pace to break his club record of 51, set last season. At this pace, he would finish with 68, one more than the major league record set by Boston's Earl Webb in 1931.
  • The Astros have gone to their bullpen fewer times (180) than any team in the majors, yet are second in the NL with 28 saves.
  • Roberto Alomar is hitting .388 (40-for-103) with runners in scoring position.
  • The Indians are 25-6 when they draw six or more walks in a game.
  • The crowd was 50,299 on Beanie Baby Day.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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