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Lopez's Home Run Leads Way for Braves

Catcher provides the power with three-run blast to help Atlanta beat San Francisco, 7-3.

May 12, 2003|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Javy Lopez hit a three-run homer to help Mike Hampton and the Atlanta Braves defeat the San Francisco Giants, 7-3, Sunday in a game delayed by rain for 1 hour 52 minutes.

Lopez had three hits to help the Braves win two of three from the Giants, the National League's top team (25-11).

"It's not just the Giants. We want to win every series we play," Lopez said. "But it's great to do it against a team like the Giants, who have the best record in the league."

The Atlanta catcher has lifted his batting average to .263, with six home runs and 14 runs batted in.

A .281 career hitter with 171 home runs in nine previous seasons, Lopez hit only .233 last season.

"I think I'm getting my confidence back at the plate," he said. "It's been kind of frustrating seeing the team win and the same guys doing it without me contributing. It's about time for guys like me to start picking them up."

Rafael Furcal tied the score, 3-3, with a run-scoring double in the fifth inning and scored the go-ahead run on consecutive wild pitches by Jason Schmidt. Lopez connected against Felix Rodriguez in the eighth to make it 7-3.

Hampton (2-1) gave up six hits and two earned runs in five innings. John Smoltz worked a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation. The Braves have won the last 69 games in which he has pitched, a major league record.

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