Giving up a three-run drive on a 2-0 pitch to Atlanta's No. 8 hitter, rookie Brian McCann, is quite another, even if he knew what to look for.
Washington's Livan Hernandez allowed both of those big hits, which were plenty to propel the Braves to a 4-0 victory over the Nationals on Sunday behind eight shutout innings from Jorge Sosa and one homer-robbing catch by Jeff Francoeur.
The rookie outfielder leaped and reached over the wall in right to bring back Cristian Guzman's shot with a runner on in the fifth.
"It kind takes a little air out of you," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "That certainly would have been a big moment there for us."
Instead, it was Jones and McCann who cleared the right-field fence in the fourth off Hernandez (15-7) who has lost 11 straight regular-season decisions against Atlanta.
"We just take advantage when he makes mistakes," Jones said.
Hernandez started Jones off with a looping 61 mph offering, then followed it with a pitch at 64 mph for a called strike.
The right-hander next threw consecutive pitches at 87 mph, and the second was pounded by Jones, who added to his majors-high homer total and matched Eddie Mathews (1953) and Hank Aaron (1971) for most in a season by a Braves player.
"It is good to be out there with some numbers like that," said Jones, who has been fighting the flu.
"You know," Hernandez said, "Andruw's hot."
Particularly against the Nationals, going 5-for-12 with three homers and seven RBI in the teams' past three games.
"We just need to be smart enough to know which players to pitch around. Frank is the manager, and he needs to step up and make those moves," outfielder Jose Guillen said. "But I'm not a manager, I'm not a pitching coach, I'm not a pitcher. To me, there's no reason to be pitching to Andruw right now, the way he's been swinging."
An out after Jones connected, three members of Atlanta's impressive rookie contingent helped pad the lead. Francoeur doubled, Ryan Langerhans walked, and McCann hit his fifth homer, making it 4-0.
"I think the guy on second base" -- Francoeur -- "gave him the sign," Hernandez said.
Sosa (11-3) made it stand up, improving to 8-0 with a 1.71 ERA in road starts this season, thanks in part to the big assist from Francoeur.
After the catch, Jones -- a seven-time Gold Glove winner -- jogged over from his spot in center field to shake Francoeur's hand.
"That turned the ballgame around," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
Sosa scattered six hits, didn't walk a batter, and only allowed two runners as far as second base. He did it by throwing 74 of his 99 pitches for strikes. He started off 24 of 29 batters with a strike.
"He kept us off-balance," Brad Wilkerson said. "He didn't really give up too many hard-hit balls."
It had to be deflating loss for the Nationals, and not just because it was their fourth setback in five games as they try to stay in the NL wild-card race.
This defeat came a day after Washington overcame a 6-2 deficit to beat Atlanta 8-6. And it came with All-Star and staff ace Hernandez on the mound. While he did allow the bullpen some much-needed rest by lasting eight innings, he also took a loss by giving up the four runs and seven hits.
"We just don't seem to be able to put two games together," Robinson said. "Doesn't seem like we have the ability to do it."
Now this is what the Nationals have to look forward to in Sunday's series finale: Rookie reliever Jason Bergmann will make his first major league start as part of a bullpen-relay strategy against NL East leader Atlanta and John Smoltz.
"It's going to be a tough task," Wilkerson said.
|Adam LaRoche greets Andruw Jones at the plate after the MVP candidate tied the franchise record. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Rafael Furcal, SS||5||0||1||0||0||1||2||.280|
|Marcus Giles, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.299|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.307|
|Andruw Jones, CF||3||1||2||1||1||0||0||.274|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.245|
|Jeff Francoeur, RF||3||1||1||0||1||0||1||.332|
|Ryan Langerhans, LF||3||1||1||0||1||1||2||.253|
|Brian McCann, C||3||1||1||3||0||0||0||.262|
|Jorge Sosa, P||3||0||1||0||0||2||1||.120|
|a- Julio Franco, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.281|
|Kyle Farnsworth, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Sosa in the 9th|
|2B - Chipper Jones (28, Hernandez), Jeff Francoeur (18, Hernandez)|
|HR - Andruw Jones (47, Hernandez), Brian McCann (5, Hernandez)|
|SH - Brian McCann (4)|
|RBI - Andruw Jones (119), Brian McCann 3 (18)|
|2-OUT RBI - Brian McCann 3 (4)|
|CS - Rafael Furcal (8, 2nd base by Hernandez/Schneider)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Jones-Giles-LaRoche|
|Jorge Sosa (W,11-3)||8||6||0||0||0||3||0||2.55|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jorge Sosa 99-74, Kyle Farnsworth 8-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jorge Sosa 9-11|
|Batters Faced - Jorge Sosa 29, Kyle Farnsworth 3|
|Brad Wilkerson, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.252|
|Deivi Cruz, 2B||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.269|
|Jose Guillen, RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.297|
|Preston Wilson, CF||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.253|
|Brian Schneider, C||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.270|
|Vinny Castilla, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.248|
|Ryan Church, LF||3||0||2||0||0||0||0||.300|
|Cristian Guzman, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.202|
|Livan Hernandez, P||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.257|
|a- Brandon Watson, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.222|
|Joey Eischen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|Hector Carrasco, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Hernandez in the 8th|
|SH - Livan Hernandez (12)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Livan Hernandez (L,15-7)||8||7||4||4||3||5||2||3.83|
|IBB - A. Jones by Livan Hernandez|
|Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 105-61, Joey Eischen 6-4, Hector Carrasco 9-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 7-11, Joey Eischen 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 33, Joey Eischen 2, Hector Carrasco 2|
|Attendance - 44083|
|Game Time - 2:15|
|Temperature - 83|
|Umpires - Home - Eric Cooper, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Larry Young|