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Jones' 44th homer lifts Braves over Nationals in 10

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Andruw Jones trotted slowly toward first, admiring the flight of his high drive. By the time he reached home plate, his grateful teammates were there to swallow him up.

Jones led off the bottom of the 10th inning with his 44th homer, giving the Atlanta Braves an 8-7 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.

The Braves squandered a 7-1 lead before salvaging a split of the four-game series with their NL East rival.

Jones was mobbed at the plate, his teammates jumping on top of him and pounding his helmet. After he finally escaped the pile, Chipper Jones came over for one more playful shove.

"Andruw," manager Bobby Cox said, "without him, we might be smelling trail dust out there."

The crowds at Turner Field have certainly gotten behind their Gold Glove center fielder, chanting "MVP! MVP! MVP!" every time he comes to the plate. He leads the majors in homers and the NL with 110 RBI, not to mention his always-spectacular play in the field.

"Those are the things that MVPs are made of," Chipper Jones said.

Luis Ayala (8-7), pitching for the first time since Aug. 21, got ahead in the count 1-2, then tried to blow a high fastball by Andruw Jones.

Big mistake.

He sent a drive toward the seats in left-center, the ball seeming to hang up forever as he watched it along the first-base line. Brad Wilkerson and Marlon Byrd both leaped at the wall, but the ball settled in the first row.

"I just looked for a pitch to drive," Jones said. "I had a couple of swings at it. I missed the first, then he came back with a high (pitch) and I had a good swing on it."

Kyle Davies (7-3), called up from the minors earlier in the day, got the win with three scoreless innings. He watched the game-winning homer from the on-deck circle.

"Welcome back," Davies said. "That's got to be at least the fourth time I've seen him do that. They keep trying to sneak a fastball by him, and he keeps hitting it a mile."

Jeff Francoeur hit a three-run homer and Chipper Jones added a two-run shot for the Braves, who were cruising early.

Chipper Jones' homer came in the first, and the Braves scored five more times in the third, highlighted by Francoeur's 11th homer since being called up from Double-A in early July. Also in the inning, Rafael Furcal scored on a wild pitch and Andruw Jones drove in his first run of the night with a groundout.

Vinny Castilla had four RBI as Washington fought back to tie it, despite a couple of embarrassing blunders on the bases.

Castilla hit a two-run single off John Smoltz in the fourth, but then took off running on a one-out fly to center and was easily doubled off by Andruw Jones' throw back to first.

In the fifth, the Nationals put the first two runners on, and newcomer Deivi Cruz lined a single to right with one out. Coach Dave Huppert wisely held up Byrd coming around third rather than challenge Francoeur's strong arm in right.

But Huppert appeared to throw up his hands a little too late, and Carlos Baerga got caught in a rundown between second and third. Byrd and Baerga both wound up at third -- Baerga was out -- and Smoltz escaped the inning when Jamey Carroll flied out to right.

The Braves then turned things over to the bullpen, which couldn't hold the lead.

Washington scored four runs in the seventh with two outs. Jim Brower, another of the Sept. 1 call-ups, walked Jose Guillen with the bases loaded. Macay McBride did the same with Nick Johnson. Dan Kolb took over and did even worse, giving up a two-run single to Castilla that tied it.

But the stirring comeback didn't matter. Andruw Jones made sure the Braves still won.

"He's carrying that team by himself," Castilla said. "You always knew he has great talent. He has all the tools to become MVP."

Jones drove in all five runs in Atlanta's other win in the series, one in which the Nationals desperately needed to take at least three of four to make up ground on the division-leading Braves. Washington remains seven games back, in last place in the highly competitive NL East.

"He beat us both games," Castilla said.

Tony Armas lasted only four innings for the Nationals, giving up seven runs.

Smoltz wasn't his usual overpowering self, and said afterward that he was bothered by a sore neck. He labored through five innings, giving up seven hits, three runs and striking out only two.

Notes

  • Nationals 2B Jose Vidro left the game after leading off the fourth with a single. He has an inflamed right knee and will undergo an MRI on Friday. Vidro had surgery on the knee during the offseason and it has continued to bother him.
  • Eleven of the 16 games between the teams have been decided by one run, three by two runs. The season series is tied 8-8.
 
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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Atlanta's Andruw Jones connects for his game-winning home run in the 10th inning.  (AP)
Atlanta's Andruw Jones connects for his game-winning home run in the 10th inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

A. Jones
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Washington

V. Castilla
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 4
 
Washington Nationals
Brad Wilkerson, LF5100022 .248
Deivi Cruz, SS-2B6020012 .270
Jose Vidro, 2B2010000 .271
    Jamey Carroll, PR-2B3220002 .248
    Gary Majewski, P0000000 .000
    Mike Stanton, P0000000 .000
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .333
Jose Guillen, RF2311300 .304
Nick Johnson, 1B4001115 .289
Vinny Castilla, 3B5024001 .251
Brian Schneider, C4011102 .280
Marlon Byrd, CF5120014 .263
Tony Armas Jr., P1000010 .125
   a- Carlos Baerga, PH1010000 .264
    Jason Bergmann, P0000000 .500
   b- Ryan Zimmerman, PH1000011 .000
    Hector Carrasco, P0000000 .000
   c- Cristian Guzman, PH-SS2000000 .195
Totals4171275719 
a-singled for Armas in the 5th
b-struck out for Bergmann in the 7th
c-fouled out for Carrasco in the 8th
Batting
2B - Marlon Byrd (9, Brower)
RBI - Jose Guillen (70), Nick Johnson (59), Vinny Castilla 4 (61), Brian Schneider (41)
2-OUT RBI - Jose Guillen (26), Nick Johnson (20), Vinny Castilla 2 (33), Brian Schneider (19)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Cruz-Carroll-N. Johnson, Castilla-Cruz-N. Johnson
Washington Nationals
Tony Armas Jr. 4777332 4.97
Jason Bergmann 2000210 0.00
Hector Carrasco 1000010 2.09
Gary Majewski 1000010 2.82
Mike Stanton 1000200 5.58
Luis Ayala (L,8-7)0111001 2.67
IBB - Giles by Mike Stanton
WP - Tony Armas Jr. (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Tony Armas Jr. 81-49, Jason Bergmann 35-20, Hector Carrasco 13-8, Gary Majewski 10-8, Mike Stanton 15-4, Luis Ayala 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tony Armas Jr. 5-3, Jason Bergmann 1-4, Hector Carrasco 1-1, Gary Majewski 1-1, Mike Stanton 2-0
Batters Faced - Tony Armas Jr. 21, Jason Bergmann 8, Hector Carrasco 3, Gary Majewski 3, Mike Stanton 4, Luis Ayala 1
Atlanta Braves
Rafael Furcal, SS3230100 .280
Marcus Giles, 2B4110104 .303
Chipper Jones, 3B4212102 .300
Andruw Jones, CF5112010 .273
Todd Hollandsworth, LF4000011 .254
    Kyle Davies, P0000000 .154
Julio Franco, 1B3100120 .284
Jeff Francoeur, RF4113010 .340
Brian McCann, C2010200 .277
John Smoltz, P2000002 .161
    Blaine Boyer, P0000000 .000
   a- Pete Orr, PH1000011 .289
    Jim Brower, P0000000 .000
    Macay McBride, P0000000 .000
    Dan Kolb, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Langerhans, LF0000000 .249
   b- Brian Jordan, PH-LF0000100 .244
Totals328877610 
a-struck out for Boyer in the 6th
b-walked for Langerhans in the 9th
Batting
HR - Chipper Jones (14, Armas), Andruw Jones (44, Ayala), Jeff Francoeur (11, Armas)
SH - Rafael Furcal (5)
RBI - Chipper Jones 2 (53), Andruw Jones 2 (110), Jeff Francoeur 3 (34)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Francoeur 3 (13)
SB - Brian McCann (1, 2nd base off Bergmann/Schneider)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jeff Francoeur 1, Andruw Jones 1
DP - A. Jones-Franco
PB - Brian McCann (5)
E - Marcus Giles (8, misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
John Smoltz 5733120 3.02
Blaine Boyer 1000010 1.76
Jim Brower 0.2244120 5.87
Macay McBride0000100 6.00
Dan Kolb (BS,6) 0.1100100 4.82
Kyle Davies (W,7-3) 3200120 4.38
HBP - Wilkerson (by Jim Brower)
Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 65-42, Blaine Boyer 15-10, Jim Brower 26-13, Macay McBride 7-3, Dan Kolb 9-4, Kyle Davies 46-29
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 5-6, Blaine Boyer 3-0, Kyle Davies 4-3
Batters Faced - John Smoltz 21, Blaine Boyer 4, Jim Brower 6, Macay McBride 1, Dan Kolb 3, Kyle Davies 12
Game Information
Attendance - 19053
Game Time - 3:13
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Larry Vanover, Second Base - Randy Marsh, Third Base - Jim Wolf