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Padres win ninth in 12 games

ATLANTA (AP) -- Brian Lawrence knew little or nothing about most
of the batters in the Atlanta Braves' makeshift lineup.

He did just fine anyway.

Khalil Greene led off the game with a home run and Jay Payton
also connected in the first inning, sending Lawrence and the San
Diego Padres over the Braves 7-3 Thursday.

The Padres scored three quick runs off Mike Hampton (0-3) and
won for the ninth time in 12 games.

Hurt by injuries, the Braves were sloppy in the field early, but
later turned a triple play.

"When you have a team that is hurting like them, you feel like
you should definitely win two of three," Lawrence said after the
Padres accomplished the feat. "It does make it a little more
comfortable out there."

Lawrence (4-2) pitched seven solid innings in his longest outing
of the season, topping the six innings he lasted against San
Francisco on April 10. He allowed only five hits, including a
two-run homer to pinch-hitter Julio Franco in the seventh.

"He kept the ball down and got his groundballs," San Diego
manager Bruce Bochy said. "It looked like he found himself out
there."

Of course, the lineup Lawrence faced was far from formidable.
J.D. Drew, Marcus Giles and Rafael Furcal all missed the game with
injuries, and left fielder Chipper Jones still is on the disabled
list with a partially torn hamstring.

That left Atlanta manager Bobby Cox with few options.

Regular third baseman Mark DeRosa moved to shortstop to replace
Furcal, and Jesse Garcia took over for Giles at second. Center
fielder Andruw Jones, who had more experience in the majors than
the other fielders combined, was flanked by reserves Dewayne Wise
and Damon Hollins.

Jones struck out three times and finished 0-for-11 in the
series.

"It's unbelievable," Atlanta catcher Johnny Estrada said.
"They could go 0-for-4, but just having the presence of them in
our lineup makes everyone else better.

"The guys who've stepped in their place have been battling. But
we just put ourselves in a hole early and I think some guys start
pressing."

The Padres had no such trouble. Greene led off the game with his
first homer of the season, and Mark Loretta walked. He advanced to
third on a single by Brian Giles, then scored when Phil Nevin
grounded into a double play.

Payton followed with another home run to give San Diego a 3-0
lead.

"It's crazy," Hampton said. "I thought the pitches I made
were pretty decent. The first home run, I thought it might drop in.
And then the second one, I didn't think it had a shot, either.

"I guess that's baseball."

The Braves helped their deficit grow by botching two double
plays. In the third, DeRosa, who made four errors in a game earlier
in the week, couldn't get the ball out of his glove after forcing
Nevin at second and eventually threw late to first, allowing
Loretta to score.

Garcia had problems in the sixth. He threw wildly to first when
trying to complete a double play on a grounder by Ramon Vazquez,
and Brian Buchanan came home to make it 5-0.

Atlanta turned an around-the-horn triple play on a grounder by
pinch-hitter Kerry Robinson in the eighth, drawing a mock cheer
from the crowd of 26,137.

"We thought Robinson was a good guy to stay out of a double
play. Well, we did that," Bochy quipped.

Meanwhile, Hampton's up-and-down season continued. In his
previous start, he gave up only two runs in five innings to
Colorado, but got tagged for six earned runs in 6 1-3 innings
Thursday.

"He was trying to work both sides of the plate, but we were
able to put his good pitches in play and then take advantage of his
mistakes," Giles said.

The Padres went ahead 7-0 in the seventh on a run-scoring single
by Giles, who later scored on a double by Payton.

Jones scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to make it 7-3.

Game notes
The Braves turned their previous triple play Aug. 10, 2003,
against St. Louis, when Furcal had an unassisted triple play. ...
Franco's homer was the first as a pinch-hitter in his 20-year
career. ... Loretta finished 3-for-4 with a walk and reached on an
error. Giles also had three hits.