Florida at Atlanta

Scoreboard
Florida (13-9)101020000461
Atlanta (11-11) «51000001x7100

Chipper celebrates birthday in style, leads Braves past Marlins

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones had another birthday to remember, right down to teammate Brian McCann's belly flop of a slide.

Jones celebrated his 36th birthday by going 3-for-3, including a home run, to lead Atlanta past the NL East-leading Florida Marlins 7-4 on Thursday night.

For his career on April 24, he's hitting .500 (18-of-36) with four home runs, eight RBI and 10 runs.

"I always feel like I need to do something cool on my birthday," the third baseman said. "Hit a homer or have three hits. I would have taken either one, to be honest. Today, I got 'em both. It was awesome."

Not that it's anything new this season. Jones raised the best average in the majors to .442, with seven home runs and 20 RBI.

"Every day has been his birthday," manager Bobby Cox joked.

While Jones got everything from a Dale Earnhardt video box set to an autographed guitar from country stars Rascal Flatts, the best present of all might have been a surprise from McCann, the Braves' slow-running catcher.

In the eighth, he drove one off the wall in right, the ball bouncing away from Jeremy Hermida, and flopped into third with something resembling a headfirst slide for his first career triple. Jones nearly buckled over in the dugout, laughing at McCann's inelegant work on the basepaths.

"That was just pure poetry in motion," Jones said, still chuckling about it in the clubhouse. "That's pretty much how Pete Rose used to draw it up."

McCann's hustle set up an insurance run. Jeff Francoeur followed with a deep drive to center for the sacrifice fly, his third RBI of the game.

"I owe McCann a beer," said Francoeur, a friend of the catcher's since childhood.

McCann's triple was his first since he had two for Double-A Mississippi in 2005.

"There's no cameras?" he said after arriving at his locker. "I may never get another triple in my life, so I'm excited."

Is your base-running underrated?

"No," McCann replied. "I'm as slow as it looks."

Chuck James (2-1) allowed four runs in five innings, but lasted long enough for the victory. Jorge Campillo pitched two scoreless innings and Manny Acosta worked the final two for his second save.

Josh Willingham hit a home run and drove in all four Florida runs.

"It was good to have a good game," Willingham said, "but I wanted to win. We didn't win, so it's not so sweet."

Atlanta jumped on rookie Burke Badenhop (0-2) in the first after the Marlins went ahead 1-0 in the top half on Willingham's run-scoring single.

Badenhop, who was born in Atlanta, received a rude homecoming from the Braves. With one out, Yunel Escobar, Jones and Mark Teixeira hit back-to-back singles to tie it up. McCann walked to load the bases, and Francoeur pulled off a nifty bit of hitting with an opposite-field double just inside the right-field foul line to bring home two more runs. Matt Diaz made it 5-1 with a two-run single right back up the middle.

Jones connected in the second -- a towering, two-out shot to center with the bases empty.

Badenhop, who started the season at Double-A Carolina, lasted five innings, giving up eight hits and walking one. He didn't strike out anyone.

"It was pretty tough," he said of his third big league start. "Giving up a five-spot after the team gives you a lead, that is pretty rough."

With his team down by five, Willingham tried to bring the Marlins back. He doubled in a run in the third and followed with his sixth home run of the season in the fifth, a two-run shot that barely cleared the left-field wall.

The Braves' defense kept Willingham from a fifth RBI. On his double, left fielder Diaz hit Escobar with a throw from the corner, and the shortstop wheeled around to make a pinpoint relay to catcher McCann for the tag on Hermida.

James also benefited from a nice catch against the center field wall by Gregor Blanco.

"The defense was just outstanding," James said. "When you get that kind of run support, you at least want to go five. I was able to battle through it."

But it might be his last victory in the majors for a while. With a couple of off days coming up and Tom Glavine scheduled to leave the disabled list on Tuesday, the Braves plan to option James back to Triple-A Richmond before their weekend series against the New York Mets.

Notes

  • Atlanta pitchers have yet to get a hit this season, going 0-for-39. The Braves are the last NL team without a hit from a pitcher.
  • Willingham's career high for RBI in a game is six.
  • Braves LHP Mike Gonzalez pitched a perfect inning at extended spring training, his first outing since reconstructive elbow surgery some 11 months ago.
 
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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Life is good for Chipper Jones on his 36th birthday -- three hits, a home run, and a victory.  (AP)
Life is good for Chipper Jones on his 36th birthday -- three hits, a home run, and a victory. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

C. Jones
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Florida

J. Willingham
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 4
 

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Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, SS4100111 .333
Dan Uggla, 2B3110201 .262
Jeremy Hermida, RF4110103 .246
Josh Willingham, LF4134001 .329
Mike Jacobs, 1B3000111 .277
Cody Ross, CF3000002 .146
   a- Alfredo Amezaga, PH-CF1000000 .306
Wes Helms, 3B3010100 .200
Mike Rabelo, C3000112 .216
Burke Badenhop, P1000011 .000
   b- Robert Andino, PH1000010 .235
    Logan Kensing, P0000000 .000
    Doug Waechter, P0000000 .000
   c- Luis Gonzalez, PH1000000 .194
Totals3146475  
a-grounded out for Ross in the 8th
b-struck out for Badenhop in the 6th
c-flied out for Waechter in the 9th
Batting
2B - Josh Willingham (5, James)
HR - Josh Willingham (6, James)
SH - Burke Badenhop (1)
RBI - Josh Willingham 4 (16)
2-OUT RBI - Josh Willingham (6)
SB - Hanley Ramirez 2 (8, 2nd base off James/McCann, 3rd base off James/McCann)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Uggla-H. Ramirez-Jacobs
E - Logan Kensing (1, Throwing)
Florida Marlins
Burke Badenhop (L,0-2) 5866101 8.36
Logan Kensing 2000200 0.90
Doug Waechter 1211010 2.25
IBB - Jones by Logan Kensing
Pitches-Strikes - Burke Badenhop 79-50, Logan Kensing 37-23, Doug Waechter 14-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Burke Badenhop 11-3, Logan Kensing 1-5
Batters Faced - Burke Badenhop 23, Logan Kensing 8, Doug Waechter 5
Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson, 2B4010000 .250
Yunel Escobar, SS3110101 .310
Chipper Jones, 3B3231100 .442
Mark Teixeira, 1B4111003 .244
Brian McCann, C3210101 .286
Jeff Francoeur, RF3113000 .292
Matt Diaz, LF4012000 .308
Gregor Blanco, CF4010001 .409
Chuck James, P2000001 .000
    Jorge Campillo, P0000000 .000
   a- Ruben Gotay, PH1000000 .214
    Manny Acosta, P1000011 .000
Totals32710731  
a-flied out for Campillo in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jeff Francoeur (7, Badenhop)
3B - Brian McCann (1, Waechter)
HR - Chipper Jones (7, Badenhop)
SF - Jeff Francoeur (2)
RBI - Chipper Jones (20), Mark Teixeira (14), Jeff Francoeur 3 (18), Matt Diaz 2 (12)
2-OUT RBI - Chipper Jones (3)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Matt Diaz 1
Atlanta Braves
Chuck James (W,2-1) 5544531 7.62
Jorge Campillo (H,2) 2100010 0.96
Manny Acosta (S,2) 2000210 3.27
Pitches-Strikes - Chuck James 83-52, Jorge Campillo 27-18, Manny Acosta 37-19
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chuck James 5-6, Jorge Campillo 2-3, Manny Acosta 2-3
Batters Faced - Chuck James 24, Jorge Campillo 7, Manny Acosta 8
Game Information
Attendance - 19903
Game Time - 2:34
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Rob Drake, First Base - Mike Estabrook, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Dale Scott