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Hamels has little trouble with new Braves lineup

Left-hander strikes out five, allows one unearned run, in three-inning outing


CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Braves acquired B.J. Upton, Justin Upton and Chris Johnson this winter.

They replaced Chipper Jones, Michael Bourn and Martin Prado.

Does that make them a better team?

"I think they definitely maintained it, and probably got a little more balanced," Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels said, after allowing one unearned run and striking out five in three innings on Thursday in a 10-5 victory over the Braves at Bright House Field. "It's hard to replace a guy like Chipper, he's a Hall of Famer. He was a big part, a big key to the Braves for years. But I think with the guys they got, they are going to be balanced and they're going to hit you on all cylinders. So we have to come out and play at the top of our game."

The Braves are a free swinging team, so Hamels should get his share of strikeouts against them this season.

But that doesn't mean things will be easy.

"Yeah, it's kind of like what we were in '07 and '08," Hamels said. "You might strike us out, but we'll come back and fire a couple home runs back to back to keep things interesting. They have just the speed and the power you need to be a top-echelon team."

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