LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Atlanta pitcher Mike Hampton left the Braves' game Saturday night against Los Angeles in the third inning because of tightness in his left forearm.

Hampton, off to a 4-1 start and coming off a two-hit shutout against Houston last Sunday, threw only 40 pitches and departed after retiring opposing pitcher Odalis Perez on a grounder for the first out of the third.

``It was a spasm-type thing,'' manager Bobby Cox said. ``It just tightened up. His whole forearm was just hard as a rock. He had the same thing last year at one time last year, and it took him a little while to get it going again. But he should be perfectly OK for his next start _ we think. He was smart enough to know when to shut it off.''

Hampton, in his third season with the Braves, has pitched at least eight innings in four of his first eight starts and has a 1.96 ERA. The two-time All-Star, who helped the New York Mets win the 2000 NL pennant, is 15-2 in 22 starts since last July 4.

Adam Bernero relieved Hampton and allowed a run and four hits in three innings for the victory in the Braves' 5-1 win.