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Jones talked the talk even before walk-off home run

The Sports Xchange

Now it can be told:

The turning point in Wednesday's 11-inning, 15-13 victory over the Phillies wasn't third baseman Chipper Jones's walk-off two run home run. It was what Jones said on the bench after top of the fifth inning, after the Phillies scored six unanswered runs.

Hitting coach Greg Walker says that Jones, seeing the long faces in the dugout, announced: "Roy Halladay's not going to walk us to a win. We have to hit him."

The Braves then went to the plate in the bottom of the fifth and scored six runs by being aggressively patient, instead of flailing at the first pitch.

"That doesn't just happen," said Walker, who with his assistant, Scott Fletcher, has revamped the players' approaches at the plate. To say he appreciates seeing how Jones works up close and personal doesn't do the experience justice.

Halladay saw the difference, too, saying that there was no difference in what he did when he had thrown 46 pitches though four innings as opposed to his 80-pitch-count after the Braves had knocked him around for those six runs.

"They battled," Halladay said. "We put them down and they fought it off."

In particular, Halladay cited rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky's consecutive at-bats as the costliest to him, aside from catcher Brian McCann's grand slam.

Pastornicky hit two good pitches for a single up the middle in the fifth inning and a double to right in the sixth.

Pastornicky wasn't expected to contribute much on offense this season. He bats eighth in the order because manager Fredi Gonzalez doesn't want him to feel pressure to perform at the plate.

And, yes, he wasn't hitting a lick early. But he has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 starts, a .356 clip (16-for-45) before going 0-for-3 on Thursday.

After the Phillies beat the Braves, 4-0, in a brisk 2:02 game on Thursday, Jones had more words of wisdom.

"It's not a rivalry until we beat them, and beat them consistently," he said. "Can we play with them? Yes. Can we beat them? Yes. We just have to do it consistently."

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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