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Chipper's big night helps Braves past Phillies

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- A perfect night for Chipper Jones.

Jones hit a go-ahead, three-run double in the fourth inning off Cliff Lee, added his 2,500th career hit and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3 on Friday night in their home opener.

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Even better, Bobby Cox was there to see it all after throwing out the first pitch.

"I couldn't have scripted it any better," Jones said.

Jones had two hits to reach the milestone.

Lee (1-1) couldn't hold an early 3-0 lead as the Braves scored three runs in the second and then knocked the left-hander out of the game with three in the fourth.

Tim Hudson (2-0) spotted the Phillies three runs before finishing strong. He gave up eight hits and two earned runs, with no walks in 7 2/3 innings.

"That's why he's a big-game pitcher," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Hudson escaped a fifth-inning jam when Ryan Howard hit into a double play with the bases loaded. Howard hit a soft grounder to Hudson, who threw to catcher Brian McCann to start the double play.

"I'm proud of it," Hudson said of his hard-fought win. "It wasn't pretty by any means, but you can't argue with the results."

The Braves won in the home debut for Gonzalez, who caught the pregame first pitch from Cox, his predecessor.

"He had good movement," Gonzalez said of Cox's toss from in front of the mound. "He had a nice, little sinker going for him."

Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his third save, striking out former Braves utility man Pete Orr to end the game.

Martin Prado, who had three hits, and Alex Gonzalez had run-scoring doubles for Atlanta in the second. Jason Heyward led off the inning with a triple.

Lee lasted only 3 1/3 innings, giving up 10 hits and six runs with a walk and one hit batter. He struck out three.

"I felt like his [arm] angle wasn't real good," said Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel. "He was up mostly all night. It was hard to get his breaking ball over.

"He has a game like that every once in a while."

Lee's outing was his shortest since Sept. 4, 2009, when he lasted only three innings for Philadelphia in a 7-0 loss at Houston.

Hudson found trouble and bad luck in the first inning. Shane Victorino led off the game with a single that bounced off second base. Placido Polanco followed with a single to shallow left but was forced out at second on a grounder by Jimmy Rollins.

Howard's sacrifice fly to left field drove in Victorino. Rollins scored from second on Ben Francisco's single to left.

Carlos Ruiz led off the second with a single off Hudson's leg and eventually scored on Victorino's grounder for a 3-0 lead.

Jones reached the milestone with a sixth-inning single off Antonio Bastardo. He raised his helmet as the sellout crowd of 51,331 -- including Cox and his family -- cheered.

Cox was the only manager Jones had played for before this season. Cox retired after last season.

"You had to know Bobby Cox was going to be in the house tonight," Jones said.

Jones is the ninth switch-hitter to reach 2,500 hits. The three RBIs left him with 1,497. If he drives in three more runs, Jones will join Eddie Murray as the only switch-hitters with at least 2,500 hits and 1,500 RBIs.

"He's just been a good, solid hitter his whole career," Manuel said. "I saw him in the minor leagues. He's not a lifetime .300 hitter for nothing."

Before the game, the 38-year-old Jones called 2,500 hits "a nice round number" but said the milestone is "not a huge deal."

Cox, wearing his No. 6 jersey and khaki pants, tipped his Braves cap to the fans before throwing the pitch -- a little wide -- from the front of the mound. Gonzalez, a former catcher, caught the pitch and the two then embraced briefly.

"I threw a four-seamer that sunk," Cox said.

Gonzalez was Cox's third base coach from 2003-06.

The Braves did not announce the unusual pairing for the first pitch. Last year, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron threw the first pitch to then-rookie right fielder Jason Heyward.

Cox is fourth all-time with 2,504 wins, including 2,149 in 25 years with the Braves.

Notes

  • Bastardo recorded six straight strikeouts after giving up Jones' milestone hit.
  • The Braves optioned LHP Mike Minor to Triple-A Gwinnett and purchased the contract of C J.C. Boscan. Minor made a fill-in start in a 5-4 loss at Milwaukee on Wednesday as RHP Jair Jurrjens opened the season on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. Jurrjens will make a rehab start for Gwinnett on Monday and could then return to Atlanta.
  • Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, attended the game and sat near Cox's family.
 
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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Chipper Jones waves to the crowd after belting his 2,500th career hit in the sixth inning. (AP)
Chipper Jones waves to the crowd after belting his 2,500th career hit in the sixth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

C. Jones
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Philadelphia

S. Victorino
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Philadelphia Phillies
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Shane Victorino, CF4121000 .296
Placido Polanco, 3B4010012 .414
Jimmy Rollins, SS4100001 .321
Ryan Howard, 1B3001001 .429
Ben Francisco, RF3021000 .357
Raul Ibanez, LF4000023 .259
Carlos Ruiz, C4120000 .238
Wilson Valdez, 2B3000002 .375
    Antonio Bastardo, P0000000 .000
    J.C. Romero, P0000000 .000
   a- Ross Gload, PH1000000 .333
Cliff Lee, P1000000 .000
    Kyle Kendrick, P1010000 .500
    Pete Orr, 2B2000010 .429
Totals3438304  
a-flied out for Romero in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ben Francisco (2, Hudson)
SF - Ryan Howard (2)
RBI - Shane Victorino (6), Ryan Howard (9), Ben Francisco (6)
2-OUT RBI - Ben Francisco (3)
SB - Shane Victorino (1, 2nd base off Hudson/McCann), Jimmy Rollins (3, 2nd base off Hudson/McCann), Ben Francisco (1, 2nd base off Hudson/McCann)
Team LOB - 6
Philadelphia Phillies
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Cliff Lee (L,1-1) 3.11066130 7.84
Kyle Kendrick 1.2100100 1.80
Antonio Bastardo 2100060 0.00
J.C. Romero 1000120 3.00
HBP - Freeman (by Cliff Lee)
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 73-51, Kyle Kendrick 23-14, Antonio Bastardo 35-25, J.C. Romero 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 5-2, Kyle Kendrick 4-1, J.C. Romero 1-0
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 22, Kyle Kendrick 7, Antonio Bastardo 7, J.C. Romero 4
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Martin Prado, LF5131000 .286
Nate McLouth, CF5121011 .250
Chipper Jones, 3B4023101 .345
Brian McCann, C4020122 .433
Dan Uggla, 2B4000015 .194
Jason Heyward, RF3110122 .261
Alex Gonzalez, SS4111014 .207
Freddie Freeman, 1B3210010 .154
Tim Hudson, P4000033 .000
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
Totals366126311  
Batting
2B - Martin Prado (4, Lee), Chipper Jones (4, Lee), Alex Gonzalez (1, Lee)
3B - Jason Heyward (1, Lee)
RBI - Martin Prado (5), Nate McLouth (2), Chipper Jones 3 (6), Alex Gonzalez (2)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Uggla-Freeman, Hudson-McCann-Freeman
E - Alex Gonzalez (1, Misplayed grounder), Tim Hudson (1, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tim Hudson (W,2-0) 7.2832020 1.84
Jonny Venters (H,3) 0.1000010 1.80
Craig Kimbrel (S,3) 1000010 0.00
HBP - Francisco (by Tim Hudson)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 100-68, Jonny Venters 4-3, Craig Kimbrel 11-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 15-6
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 32, Jonny Venters 1, Craig Kimbrel 3
Game Information
Attendance - 51331
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Field Culbreth