CINCINNATI (AP)—Chipper Jones was ready for a big night at the plate. Then he got injured—again.
The Braves third baseman homered and drove in four runs before leaving the game with a right shoulder injury in the fourth inning, and Atlanta ended the Cincinnati Reds’ season-high five-game winning streak with a 12-2 victory Tuesday night.
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 tomorrow,” 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.
Cincinnati’s run was their best since winning seven in a row from May 19-25 of last season.
With the gametime temperature at 91 degrees, Jorge Sosa lasted just long enough to improve to 4-0 in his last seven starts. Sosa (7-1) allowed six hits, one run and three walks with four strikeouts in five innings.
“To give up only one run in this place is unbelievable,” McCann said.
Jones and Adam LaRoche each had run-scoring doubles in Atlanta’s two-run first inning. In the second, Jones followed Giles’ RBI single with a two-run single down the right-field line. Andruw Jones knocked Ramon Ortiz out of the game with a double to left-center.
Atlanta piled up eight hits and six runs with two walks in 1 1-3 innings against Ortiz (6-7), who was 3-0 with a 4.36 ERA in his previous five starts. His overall ERA climbed from 5.84 to 6.30 as he allowed at least one run in the first inning for the fifth time in his last six starts.
“Sean Casey’s our fifth hitter, and we’re already down six,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “That makes it tough to come back. They’ve got very good hitters, and they’re not going to miss a lot of mistakes.”
“I felt good,” Ortiz said. “I threw a couple of bad pitches, but I threw some good ones, too. They hit everything. Nothing you can do about that.”
Chipper Jones got that run back with a solo homer in the fourth inning off reliever Randy Keisler, his ninth of the season and first since he hit one in his first game off the disabled list on July 18.
McCann added his third homer of the season, a two-run shot off Keisler, in the fifth. Giles had a two-run single and Wilson Betemit, Chipper Jones’s replacement, a run-scoring single in the seventh.
Freel scored from third on a passed ball as Adam Dunn was striking out in the seventh.
Giles matched his season high by extending his hitting streak to seven games. … Andruw Jones was hitless in his last nine at-bats before his double … Casey led off the second with a single to extend his hitting streak to seven games. … Reds rookie 3B Edwin Encarnacion had three errors and two strikeouts, along with grounding into a double play. The last Reds third baseman to make three errors in one game was Willie Greene on April 9, 1996, against the Mets.