The veteran left-hander pitched seven innings and picked up career victory No. 139 in the Braves' 11-4 win over the Giants on Tuesday night in San Francisco. Hampton helped his own cause in the game with an RBI double off the center-field wall.

It was the third start for Hampton, now 35, since returning to the Braves' roster following two elbow surgeries, including a ligament transplant, and months of rehabilitation.

"It feels great," Hampton told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The three years of rehab that I've went through have been for this day. It'll probably sink in by tomorrow. It's just a good feeling. There were always doubts that I wouldn't get another one, and I don't know if I'll get another one from here. But I at least got one, and I felt pretty good out there and, I hope I can continue to pitch like that."

"It's big for the team to get Mike a win," manager Bobby Cox said. "It's been a long time. He certainly deserves it. He's been through a lot. They're happy for him. He's always been a team guy."

Rollins takes time out for young readers: Jimmy Rollins has always been an avid reader, so on Tuesday when he got the opportunity to speak to the top 100 readers in the Philadelphia Reads summer program -- a program that coordinates in-school, after-school and summer programs for students -- he was happy to do so.

"It's good to see that you guys are taking an interest in education and understanding the fundamentals of reading," Rollins told the children, according to MLB.com, "because reading is very important. You have to be able to read in order to get around in this world. You guys are starting early."

Ball's flight path no problem for Gerut: When Jody Gerut made an outstanding catch on Sunday, it made all the highlight reels that night. But the catch was made even more amazing by the fact the ball was moving like a Wiffle Ball.

"You needed a fourth dimension to see it," the Stanford man quipped to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"I've never seen a ball do that," Gerut said. "It changed planes in midair. I didn't think about it at the time, but if the ball gets by me there, the game changes. Honestly, I [would have been] happy just to knock it down."

Soriano more than a clutch hitter: With his team tied at seven with Houston in the seventh inning on Tuesday, Alfonso Soriano stepped to the plate and did what he seems to do quite often -- he came through in the clutch. Soriano's three-run home run launched the Cubs to an 11-7 victory.

"He changes the game with one swing," second baseman Mark DeRosa told MLB.com. "He's one of the big superstars in the game. He loosens us up as a team with his charisma and character in the dugout.

"He's a huge part of who we are, and I don't want to say he's our sparkplug, because he bombs the ball out of the park. But at the same time, he gets us going."

Reyes forcing the issue with solid outings: Anthony Reyes, who is best known for a dominating outing -- and victory -- for the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the 2006 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, seems to be just days away from making his Indians debut. After allowing just one run on five hits over eight innings on Sunday, Reyes now has a 2-0 mark at Triple-A Buffalo since being traded.

"He's in our plans," manager Eric Wedge, when asked if Reyes would be called up soon, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I think we'll have him up here sooner rather than later. How that's for vague? It's vague, but a precise vague."

Mather gets sage advice from Miles: Joe Mather knows that it's in his best interest to be a listener and a learner, and one of the players he has listened to the most is infielder Aaron Miles.

"I think I always felt like I could play here, but you needed to see the results for that extra boost," Mather told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Miles said there were things I could do better and that he thought I could hit here. That meant a lot. You tell yourself you believe in what you can do, but it's helpful to show what you can do."

Wood puts blister woes behind him: Kerry Wood, sidelined since before the All-Star break with a blister on his finger, pitched the eighth inning of the Cubs' 11-7 victory over Houston on Tuesday. Wood, who is working his way back to the closer's role, says that he hopes the longer-than-expected layoff will keep him strong for the rest of the year.

"I got a little longer break -- I didn't want one, but I did get one. I should be strong for the stretch," Wood told MLB.com. "It's frustrating when it's something as small as this. Any time you miss games and you're not part of the action and you're in a pennant race, it's no fun to sit and watch. I guess it made it a little easier, because of the way we were playing."

Penny glad to have Ramirez on his side: After spending seven weeks on the disabled list, the Dodgers will activate Brad Penny on Friday and make him that night's starting pitcher. Penny is thrilled with the team's acquisition of Manny Ramirez.

"That's definitely the biggest move since I've been here," Penny, who is in his fourth season with the Dodgers, told the Los Angeles Times. "It's going to help us probably win the division. One guy can't win the division, but we've got that legitimate power guy now -- and he hits for average."

Winn returns to leadoff spot: The Giants have moved Randy Winn into the leadoff position, where his speed and switch-hitting abilities can play a more prominent role.

"It's hard to find a player like Randy, who's got the whole game," manager Bruce Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. "His speed, he's a switch-hitter, his defense. A lot of clubs would love to have Randy on their team."

Gio Gonzalez overcomes passport issues to make debut: The A's announced they are promoting Minor League pitcher Gio Gonzalez, acquired from the White Sox in the Nick Swisher deal, to pitch Thursday against the Blue Jays in Toronto. Gonzalez ran into a little problem when he realized he did not have his passport with him. But he got a friend to fly from Miami to Chicago to get him the necessary paperwork. Still, Gonzalez was not going to let a passport keep him from his Major League debut.

"I was more worried about my passport than I was thinking about getting called up, but I was going to get there somehow, even if they had to stick me in a suitcase and drive me there," Gonzalez told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Gonzalez was 8-7 with a 4.24 ERA in Triple-A. He was second in the Pacific Coast League with 128 strikeouts.

Millwood makes progress with bullpen session: Kevin Millwood threw around 30 pitches during a bullpen session on Monday. It was the first time for him to throw off a mound since going on the disabled list with a strained right groin. Millwood said he didn't feel any discomfort but wanted to see how he felt on Tuesday.

"It's nice to get it behind me and see that it felt good," Millwood, who went on the disabled list July 26, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I definitely want to be out there trying to help the team."

Millwood is scheduled to throw again on Wednesday. He will then go on a rehab start or throw a simulated game before being activated from the disabled list.

Hundley gets the call to thwart base stealers: San Diego recalled catcher Nick Hundley from Triple-A Portland, expecting the youngster to be able to slow down potential base stealers. So far, Hundley has thrown out 29 percent of would-be base stealers.

"He's also been a deterrent," Padres bench coach Craig Colbert, a former Major League catcher, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

One of Hundley's strengths is his quick throws to second base, as he has been timed between 1.83 to 2.05 seconds. The average Major League catcher is clocked at 2.00 to 2.05 seconds.

Drew happy to bring out the leadoff helmet: With Mike Lowell out of the lineup Monday night, Red Sox manager Terry Francona gave the batting order a makeover by putting right fielder J.D. Drew in the leadoff spot. The left-handed hitting right fielder hit leadoff 14 times for the Red Sox last season and has hit at the top of the order a total of 55 times in his career.

"I've got the leadoff helmet. I carry it with me everyone once in a while on a trip in case I need it," Drew told the Boston Herald. "I don't think too much about lineups and positions and stuff. I know Tito got strapped a little bit, and sometimes you need somebody to fill certain roles, and I don't mind doing it at all. The only time it's a major factor is to start a game.

"My mindset is one way, trying to get on base and do things like that, no matter where I'm at in the lineup, so I think it works out pretty well."

Giese to make first start in hometown: Dan Giese made a strong impression with the Yankees earlier this year when he made two starts for them and had a 2.51 ERA in 32 1/3 innings and 13 games, with most of the appearances coming in relief. The club has recalled Giese from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and will insert him into the starting rotation.

"He's gotten people out," manager Joe Girardi told Newsday. "And whatever we've asked, he's done."

Giese will start on Friday when the Yankees take on the Angels in Anaheim. The start will be special for Giese -- he was born in Anaheim and grew up in Southern California.

"That's going to be a big-time homecoming for sure," Giese said. "I wasn't expecting anything at all. For it to be Anaheim, that's great."

Rafael Perez runs scoreless streak to 10 innings: Rafael Perez used 15 pitches and worked two perfect innings of relief in Monday night's 5-2 Cleveland win over the Tampa Bay Rays. With 10 scoreless outings in his last 13 appearances, Perez has regained the confidence of manager Eric Wedge.

"I'm very confident in him," Wedge told MLB.com. "I think he's one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. When you look at last year, he was [pitching in the] sixth, seventh and eighth. This year, it's the seventh, eighth and ninth. It's a great experience for him."

-- Red Line Editorial