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Hampton Wins 15th Over L.A.


Even when Mike Hampton doesn't have his best stuff, he finds a way to win.

Hampton allowed three hits in seven innings to win his sixth straight decision and become the second 15-game winner in the NL as the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-2 Tuesday night.

"After his first couple of starts this season, he's had consistently good stuff," Astros manager Larry Dierker said. "He's had just a few lapses with his control like tonight that kept him from finishing the game."

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  • Hampton (15-3) won for the 10th time in his last 11 starts and equaled Kent Bottenfield of St. Louis with his 15th victory. Pedro Martinez is the only AL pitcher with 15 wins.

    "He was effectively wild," Los Angeles' Eric Karros said. "He doesn't throw that many balls over the plate. He goes deep in the count. He gives you a ball and a strike, a ball and another strike."

    "He throws just enough strikes to keep out of trouble. He came real close to walking seven or eight guys but he didn't do it. He came up with the strike when he needed it."

    The Astros won for the ninth time in 11 games and they have won 17 of their last 22 games. The Dodgers have lost 11 of their last 14 games.

    Hampton equaled his career-high in wins and pitched at least six innings for the 20th time in his 22 starts this season.

    "I was struggling a little bit in the beginning," Hampton said. "Coming from Colorado where the air is different, you have to adjust. Early on, I struggled to find my location. But it seemed like when we needed a big pitch or a big play, the team came up with it."

    Devon White led off the second inning with his 10th homr. Hampton had faced 287 batters without allowing a homer over the past 54 innings. He's allowed seven homers this season.

    Hampton didn't allow another hit after White's homer until Adrian Beltre led off the seventh with a single. Hampton struck out seven and walked five.

    "You don't go 15-3 with a 3-point ERA without throwing some pretty good pitches, especially on Astroturf," Dodgers manager Davey Johnson said. "He (Hampton) pitched a helluva ball game."

    The Astros gave Hampton plenty of run support, scoring five runs after two outs in the third inning off Darren Dreifort (8-11).

    Houston benefited from five hits and two errors in the five-run third inning. The Astros had RBI singles by Bill Spiers, Derek Bell and Lance Berkman. Jeff Bagwell reached on third baseman Adrian Beltre's error after Spiers' hit.

    Richard Hidalgo reached on shortstop Mark Grudzielanek's error to load the bases. Paul Bako followed with a two-run single to center to make it 5-1.

    Spiers got his second RBI single in the sixth.

    "The mark of the good clubs is they take advantage of their opportunities," Dierker said. "They helped us out tonight. They had a couple of chances to get out of it and they didn't."

    Spiers got his second RBI single in the sixth.

    Beltre hit a solo homer in the ninth off Butch Henry.

    Notes:

  • Dreifort allowed six runs and nine hits in six innings.
  • Since coming off the DL on July 6, Mark Grudzielanek has hit in 20 of 23 games, including an eighth-inning single .
  • Eric Karros has 211 career home runs and is 17 behind Ron Cey, whose 228 are the most since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles.
  • The Astros are only team in the majors undefeated when leading after eight innings. They are 56-0.
  • White has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games.

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