- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 12, 2005

ATLANTA — A change of scenery did not help the struggling Washington Nationals. While Atlanta starter Mike Hampton extended their hitting woes, the Braves collected 15 hits against four Nationals pitchers en route to an 11-2 victory in the first game of the series at Turner Field.

Hampton allowed one run over eight innings and Atlanta posted season highs in runs and hits before 16,584.

“This was not a pretty sight. This was an ugly ballgame. We’re better than that,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said.

The Nationals (3-4), who were shut out twice in their three-game weekend series against the Florida Marlins, managed eight hits last night.

Hampton (1-0) allowed one run on seven hits, struck out two and walked none. The left-hander threw 65 of his 91 pitches for strikes.

“He was very aggressive,” said Nationals second baseman Jose Vidro, who had a first-inning double. “We were trying to be patient with him. When they scored a couple of runs, it gave him a lift. We need to go back to the first series [against Philadelphia] and realize what we did there.”

Following Vidro’s double, Hampton retired 15 of the next 16 batters until Nick Johnson singled with two outs in the sixth. Jose Guillen’s solo homer in the seventh accounted for the lone run against Hampton, who had been staked to a 7-0 lead.

It was Guillen’s team-leading third home run of the season. Guillen, who reached base on an error, scored the Nationals’ only other run in the ninth inning on J.J. Davis’ one-out single off Braves reliever Kevin Gryboski.

Nationals starter Zach Day (0-1), meanwhile, has had virtually no success against the Braves. He came into the game with a 1-4 record and a 10.27 ERA all time against Atlanta. Last night’s line — seven runs on nine hits in 41/3 innings — did nothing to help those statistics.

“They’ve hit my mistakes,” Day said.

Day, who became the Nationals’ No. 2 starter when Tony Armas Jr. went on the 15-day disabled list March 28, ran into trouble early. The division-leading Braves (5-2) took the lead on a two-run double by first baseman Adam LaRoche.

With two outs in the fourth, Raul Mondesi doubled down the left-field line to score Brian Jordan and give the Braves a 3-0 advantage.

The fifth inning was Day’s ultimate undoing when the Braves blasted two two-run homers to break the game open. Shortstop Rafael Furcal gave the Braves a 5-0 lead with a 407-foot shot into the center-field bleachers, and one out later Andruw Jones clubbed a fastball 382 feet into the left-field seats to make it 7-0.

Jones has gone 6-for-14 with four home runs all time against Day.

“I’ve got to put away Andruw when I get a chance. I had two strikes and didn’t put him away,” Day said.

Nationals reliever Joe Horgan gave up four runs in the eighth on a Furcal double, Chipper Jones’ bases-loaded walk, Andruw Jones’ sacrifice fly and LaRoche’s single.

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