Braves 9, Dodgers 3
Tony Gwynn & Jeff Passan: New-look Dodgers are legit
ATLANTA (AP)—Jones & Jones went deep—usually a good sign for the Atlanta Braves.
It was the 51st time the longtime teammates have homered in the same game, the most among active major league duos but the first time they’ve done it this season. The Braves are 45-6 in those games.
“When he and I hit home runs in the same game, we hardly ever lose,” Andruw Jones said.
Hudson (5-3) finally slowed the high-scoring Dodgers, who pounded Braves’ pitching for a total of 20 runs in the first two games of the series. Los Angeles couldn’t pull off its first sweep in Atlanta since 1988.
“He’s been throwing the ball extremely well,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He kept the ball down really good. His ball is moving like crazy.”
Hudson went seven innings, limiting Los Angeles to six hits and a couple of meaningless runs after the Braves built their early 7-0 lead. He has gone at least six innings in nine straight starts, bouncing back from two dismal outings to start the season, and improved to 5-0 in his career against the Dodgers.
“I’ve been feeling good all year,” Hudson said. “As a team, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs. I think we’re a lot better team than we showed early on. But we’re still not where we can be.”
Andruw Jones homered with two outs in the first off Brett Tomko, who lasted only three innings in his shortest appearance of the season. Jones finished with three RBIs.
Chipper Jones hit his two-run shot in the third, sparking a five-run outburst that finished off the Los Angeles starter. Jones moved into sole possession of second place on Atlanta’s career homer list with his 336th, breaking a tie with Hank Aaron.
Of course, Aaron hit most of his 755 homers before the Braves moved from Milwaukee in 1966.
“It’s probably the only time my name and Hank Aaron’s name will be mentioned in the same breath,” Jones quipped. “But it’s a good feeling. It’s been a pretty cool career so far.”
The Braves finished May with an 18-11 record after going 10-14 in April. They moved back into second place in the NL East and remained 4 1/2 games behind the New York Mets.
“Hopefully, we will stay right in the hunt and be right where we want to be by the All-Star break,” Chipper Jones said.
Tomko (5-3) is mired in a troubling slump. After winning five of his first six decisions, he’s been pounded in his last two starts, giving up 15 hits and 11 earned runs in 7 2-3 innings.
The right-hander retired the first two Atlanta hitters, then walked Chipper Jones. The next pitch was a high fastball to Andruw Jones, who drove it deep into the left-field seats for his 13th homer. Left fielder Andrew Ethier barely moved, and Tomko didn’t even bother looking back.
The Braves batted around in the third. Marcus Giles led off with a single and Chipper Jones got a pitch he could hit, going the opposite way to left for his fifth homer and a 4-0 lead. Andruw Jones and Adam LaRoche followed with consecutive singles before Jeff Francoeur hit a fly ball that was dropped by Ethier. It was deep enough to score Jones anyway but allowed the Braves to add two more runs, both unearned. Todd Pratt hit a sacrifice fly—Kenny Lofton making a brilliant catch against the center-field wall with his back to home— and the final run scored on a balk.
“It was a weird game,” Tomko said. “I felt really good. I just think I elevated the ball a little too much. It’s one of those games where I’m kind of scratching my head when I’m walking away, wondering where everything went haywire. I just think Im a little out of whack right now.”
Hudson’s only major mistake was to Nomar Garciaparra, who led off the sixth with his sixth homer. Ethier had a run-scoring double in the fourth, accounting for the only other run off the Atlanta starter.
The Braves added two more runs off Odalis Perez, filling a mop-up role for the Dodgers after getting knocked around during his time in the rotation. Pratt hit another sacrifice fly and Andruw Jones added a run-scoring single in the sixth.
Tomko has never done well at Turner Field, dropping to 0-3 with a 9.45 ERA in four games in Atlanta. … Braves RHP Oscar Villareal allowed a run in the eighth, another strike against the team’s beleaguered bullpen. … Dodgers 2B Ramon Martinez left game after fouling a ball off his left foot in the second inning. The X-rays were negative. … The top four hitters in the Los Angeles lineup all have Atlanta ties. Rafael Furcal, Lofton and J.D. Drew are former Braves, while Garciaparra played at Georgia Tech.