Injuries haven’t slowed the Atlanta Braves’ latest surge to the top of the NL East.
Atlanta ended the Cincinnati Reds’ season-high five-game winning streak with a 12-2 victory Tuesday night, as Jones homered and drove in four runs before leaving the game with a right shoulder injury in the fourth inning.
Jones, who missed six weeks with a foot injury earlier in the season, left the game with a rotator cuff strain after diving to his left in an effort to stop Ryan Freel’s sharp grounder. He is day-to-day.
“I’ve been swinging the bat pretty well lately,” Jones said in the upbeat Atlanta clubhouse. “Tonight, a couple fell in. When you get three hits, you’re thinking, ‘All right, maybe I can get four or five.’ Then this happened. Right now, I can’t imagine throwing the ball across this room, but we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox didn’t expect Jones to be placed on the disabled list.
“I doubt he’ll play (Wednesday),” Cox said. “I thought it was his thumb at first. A lot of times, when an infielder dives like that, it (bends) his thumb back.”
Catcher Brian McCann also homered and Marcus Giles had three hits and three RBIs as the Braves rolled to their seventh win in eight games. The Braves extended their lead in the NL East to a season-best 5 1/2 games over the Washington Nationals while matching their second-largest winning margin of the season. Their widest was a 16-0 win over Houston on May 8.
Brandon Claussen will counter for the Reds, hoping to overcome his struggles at Great American Ball Park.
In his last two home starts, the left-hander has allowed 16 runs, including eight home runs, over just 7 1-3 innings of work.
“I’m so much better than that performance,” Claussen said. “I’m so much better than the performance before that. I take a lot of pride in my job, and my last two outings are hard to swallow.”
Claussen is 2-2 with a 2.97 ERA on the road, but 3-6 with a 5.71 ERA in 11 home starts this season