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Following bullpen collapse, Jones bails out Braves with game-winner

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- When Andruw Jones walked to the plate to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday, the cheer from the stands showed the fans were thinking the same thing as Jones' teammates: home run.

Jones delivered, lifting a 1-2 pitch just over the left-field wall to give Atlanta a 5-4 win over Baltimore as the Braves recovered after wasting a four-run lead.

"I was trying to get it over with, and I came through," Jones said.

The homer gave Jones the major league lead with 23. He has hit home runs in six of the last eight games -- including a two-homer game -- and has carried the Braves since Chipper Jones hurt a foot, an injury expected to sideline him for four to six weeks.

"It's getting to the point where it wasn't exactly a big surprise because he hadn't hit a home run yet and he hits about one a night," said Atlanta's Adam LaRoche, whose pinch-hit single broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning.

"He's in one of those periods where you do expect it," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Nothing is going to shock you."

Atlanta took a 4-0 lead in the seventh inning, but Baltimore scored one run in the eighth and tied the game with three runs off closer Chris Reitsma in the ninth.

"To come back like that and to lose it on the first hitter, it's a bitter pill to swallow," Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said.

Jones' homer off Todd Williams (0-1) gave the Braves their seventh win in nine games.

"I'm not trying to lead the league in home runs," Jones said. "I'm just trying to go out and hit the ball and make my team win."

The homer just escaped the reach of left fielder David Newhan, a late-game replacement for starter Larry Bigbie.

"I should have left the 6-foot-2 guy in there," Mazzilli said, referring to Bigbie, who is 4 inches taller than Newhan.

Jones, hitting cleanup, has three hits and two RBI.

One day after falling out of first place in the AL East for the first time since April 23, the Orioles lost for the ninth time in 11 road games. They have lost four straight games, their longest skid of the season, including the first two games of the three-game weekend series.

Trailing 4-1, the Orioles rallied in the top half of the ninth against Reitsma, who had forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk in the eighth. Consecutive singles by Sal Fasano, Newhan and Brian Roberts drove in one run.

Luis Matos followed with a bunt single, and Newhan scored on a throwing error by third baseman Wilson Betemit. After Miguel Tejada's grounder forced out Matos at second, Rafael Palmeiro singled in the tying run.

Reitsma, who blew his third save opportunity in nine chances, was pulled in favor of rookie Jorge Vasquez (1-0), who loaded the bases with a walk to Sammy Sosa. Vazquez then retired pinch-hitter Geronimo Gil on an inning-ending double play.

Roman Colon pitched six scoreless innings in his first major league start for Atlanta, allowing four hits and one walk and striking out four. He was 0-3 with an 8.50 ERA in 18 games as a reliever before he was optioned to Double-A Mississippi on June 11, then was recalled Saturday.

"The guys said we'll help you if you just go five," Colon said. "Today I say how about six? Next time, maybe seven."

Baltimore starter Bruce Chen threw 4 2/3 shutout innings before leaving with a sprained big toe on his left foot. X-rays were negative.

Atlanta went ahead with four runs in the seventh off Jorge Julio.

Betemit led off the seventh with a double to center, the Braves' first extra-base hit. LaRoche singled to drive in the go-ahead run, Rafael Fucal sacrificed, Kelly Johnson was intentionally walked and Julio threw a pair of wild pitches, the latter on ball four to Marcus Giles as pinch-runner Pete Orr scored.

Jones' RBI single chased Julio, and Julio Franco had a run-scoring infield single to shortstop off Steve Kline.

Baltimore loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth off Jim Brower, who gave up hits to Roberts and Tejada, then walked Sosa. Reitsma relieved, forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk to Bigbie and retired Chris Gomez on a groundout.

Notes

  • Johnson's third-inning single gave him an 11-game hitting streak, the longest of the season for the Braves.
  • Baltimore's 40-year-old Palmeiro laughed with Atlanta's 46-year-old Franco at first base after Franco reached on a bunt single in the fourth.
  • Chen was making his first start against the Braves, his original team.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Andruw Jones in mobbed at home after smashing the game-winning walk-off homer.  (AP)
Andruw Jones in mobbed at home after smashing the game-winning walk-off homer. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

A. Jones
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Baltimore

B. Roberts
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B5231001 .361
Luis Matos, CF5010023 .289
Miguel Tejada, SS5020013 .318
Rafael Palmeiro, 1B5011003 .264
Sammy Sosa, RF3010200 .243
Larry Bigbie, LF2001210 .266
    B.J. Ryan, P0000000 .000
   a- Geronimo Gil, PH1000001 .207
    Todd Williams, P0000000 .000
Chris Gomez, 3B4010004 .300
Sal Fasano, C4120022 .296
Bruce Chen, P1000102 .333
    Christopher Ray, P0000000 .000
   b- Jay Gibbons, PH1000002 .268
    Jorge Julio, P0000000 .000
    Steve Kline, P0000000 .000
    David Newhan, LF1110000 .204
Totals3741235621 
a-grounded into a double play for Ryan in the 9th
b-grounded out for Ray in the 7th
Batting
2B - Brian Roberts (18, Colon)
RBI - Brian Roberts (42), Rafael Palmeiro (35), Larry Bigbie (15)
2-OUT RBI - Larry Bigbie (10)
Team LOB - 11
Baltimore Orioles
Bruce Chen 4.2500230 3.54
Christopher Ray 1.1000030 1.42
Jorge Julio 0.1344200 4.04
Steve Kline 0.2100000 5.00
B.J. Ryan 1100020 1.82
Todd Williams (L,4-4)0111001 3.67
IBB - Johnson by Jorge Julio
HBP - Langerhans (by B.J. Ryan)
WP - Jorge Julio 2 (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Bruce Chen 69-48, Christopher Ray 16-12, Jorge Julio 18-12, Steve Kline 14-8, B.J. Ryan 24-14, Todd Williams 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bruce Chen 4-7, Christopher Ray 1-0, Jorge Julio 1-0, B.J. Ryan 1-0
Batters Faced - Bruce Chen 21, Christopher Ray 4, Jorge Julio 6, Steve Kline 3, B.J. Ryan 5, Todd Williams 1
Atlanta Braves
Rafael Furcal, SS4010000 .223
Kelly Johnson, LF4110122 .243
Marcus Giles, 2B2100312 .282
Andruw Jones, CF5132013 .275
Julio Franco, 1B4021011 .270
Brian Jordan, RF4000014 .236
    Chris Reitsma, P0000000 .000
    Jorge Vasquez, P0000000 .000
Johnny Estrada, C4010003 .274
Wilson Betemit, 3B4120012 .330
Roman Colon, P2000012 .000
    Blaine Boyer, P0000000 .000
    John Foster, P0000000 .000
   a- Adam LaRoche, PH1011000 .257
    Pete Orr, PR0100000 .317
    Jim Brower, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Langerhans, RF0000000 .241
Totals3451144819 
a-singled for Foster in the 7th
Batting
2B - Wilson Betemit (10, Julio)
HR - Andruw Jones (23, T. Williams)
SH - Rafael Furcal (2)
RBI - Andruw Jones 2 (52), Julio Franco (16), Adam LaRoche (43)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Giles-Furcal-Franco, Furcal-Giles-Franco
E - Wilson Betemit (6, Wild throw)
Atlanta Braves
Roman Colon 6400140 6.38
Blaine Boyer 0.2100110 1.29
John Foster 0.1000000 3.07
Jim Brower 0.2211110 5.97
Chris Reitsma (BS,3) 0.2533100 3.60
Jorge Vasquez (W,1-0) 0.2000100 3.00
Pitches-Strikes - Roman Colon 85-59, Blaine Boyer 17-10, John Foster 3-2, Jim Brower 20-10, Chris Reitsma 30-18, Jorge Vasquez 11-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roman Colon 7-6, Blaine Boyer 1-0, John Foster 1-0, Chris Reitsma 2-0, Jorge Vasquez 1-0
Batters Faced - Roman Colon 22, Blaine Boyer 4, John Foster 1, Jim Brower 5, Chris Reitsma 8, Jorge Vasquez 2
Game Information
Attendance - 44106
Game Time - 3:18
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Joe West, First Base - Brian Gorman, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Mark Carlson