Originally created 06/14/05

Atlanta bullied in Lone Star state



ARLINGTON, Texas - Everything's bigger here, right?

Crowds? Check.

The Texas Rangers packed 41,594 fans into Ameriquest Field to see a home team that went 4-8 on its most recent road trip.

Starting pitcher? Double check.

All 6 feet, 10 inches of righty Chris Young, a Lone Star native, had zero problems with the Atlanta Braves' lineup as Texas waltzed to an easy 7-3 victory Monday evening.

Both the Braves and Rangers had lost seven of their past 10 coming into the series. Texas was the only one to show signs of a still-breathing team Monday, though.

Atlanta, right now, is a team waiting for failure, assuming pending doom, first baseman Adam LaRoche said.

"We suck right now. That's all there is to it," said LaRoche, 0-for-4 with a strikeout. "We're in a kind of thing right now where we don't expect anything to go our way. I think that's where we're at right now."

That sort of down-in-the-dumps feeling, he said, makes a 3-0 first-inning lead - like the one Texas had after a three-run homer by Alfonso Soriano - seem like a 30-0 deficit to the Braves.

Young looked like he was pitching with a 30-run lead, too.

In seven scoreless innings, he appeared as if he was pitching off Mount Everest to the hapless Braves hitters, who managed just two hits against him.

"There's no way to get used to it," LaRoche said of facing a monster, made even taller by the mound. "You just don't see it enough."

Young (6-3) mowed through the young Atlanta lineup, which was passed by Houston on Monday to make it the worst-hitting team in the NL (.245).

After a single by rookie Kelly Johnson - only his second in 31 at-bats - and a walk by Marcus Giles in the first, the next Brave to reach base was Andy Marte, who singled with one down in the fifth.

Johnson and Giles had no idea at the time, but that was the closest Atlanta would get to scoring off Young, a Dallas native.

Johnson was the only Brave to put his foot on second base against Young, who struck out seven.

"Young was a little too much for us," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said.

On the disappointing flip side for Braves fans, everyone said moving to the National League would fast-forward Tim Hudson's career.

Hudson had started to show life two weeks ago, but cramps forced him out of his last start against the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth inning.

Texas' lineup forced Hudson (6-5) to a premature exit this time.

"He made some bad pitches," Cox said.

"I gave him some pretty good cookies to hit," Hudson said of his two gopher balls to Soriano. "I just didn't have anything."

Reach Travis Haney at travis.haney@morris.com.