Jones, Braves sweep Mets in doubleheader
Even more than the Mets’ nemesis could provide on his own.
Jones, starting as the No. 2 hitter for the first time in 15 years, homered among his three hits and drove in three runs in Atlanta’s doubleheader sweep of the New York Mets on Thursday, and David Ross(notes) used Jones’ lumber to hit a long ball and drive in two runs in the Braves’ 5-1 win in the night game of the twinbill made necessary by the threat of Hurricane Irene.
Jones had a sacrifice fly and RBI double in the nightcap and a solo homer and a double in the opener, a 6-5 victory for Atlanta. The Braves breezed through New York to play two games postponed Aug. 27-28 after being handed their first three-game sweep of the season, by the Phillies.
“He hit a homer and then I took BP with his bat and said ‘I had a good BP,’ and he said I should use that,” Ross said after starting the second game. “I was like, ‘Well it feels good.’ So I used it and got two hits and two RBIs.”
The Braves next head to St. Louis for a crucial series with the team they lead in the wild-card race by 7 1/2 games. Only several hundred fans were on hand to see the start of the twinbill at 4:10 p.m. A few thousand more sat through a misty rain in the nightcap, though the announced attendance was 25,953.
“It was a good day for us especially after this weekend—or this week in Philly—to come back and right the ship,” Jones said. “Got two pretty good starts for some young guys, got some offense finally, too.”
Two Braves youngsters, Mike Minor(notes) (5-2) in the opener and Julio Teheran(notes) (1-1) in the nightcap shut down the Mets, who also sent two rookie starters to the mound: Chris Schwinden(notes), making his big league debut, and Dillon Gee(notes) (12-6). It’s only the fourth time since 1965 that all the starting pitchers in a doubleheader were rookies.
“Those kids are doing a terrific job,” Gonzalez said. “It makes me feel good that not that many organizations that have that kind of depth.”
Teheran gave a performance more in line with his minor league credentials than his first two big league starts in May. The International League’s Most Valuable Pitcher and Rookie of the Year went 15-3 for Triple-A Gwinnett, but he gave up a combined five runs in 8 2-3 innings for the Braves earlier this year for a 5.19 ER.
This time, he gave up two hits to start the first and a sacrifice fly then little more in 5 1-3 innings and came away with his first big league win. He yielded five hits overall.
Dan Uggla(notes) had an RBI single in the first, driving in Michael Bourn(notes) two outs after the speedster reached on Jose Reyes’(notes) fielding error at shortstop. Ross had an RBI single in the fifth off Gee and a homer in the ninth to straightaway center. Jones drove in a run when his sinking liner was caught by a diving Jason Bay(notes) in the seventh and doubled after Bourn tripled in the ninth.
“It’s really nice when Bourn is on first, too, Jones said, “You get a lot of fastballs.”
Bay hit a grand slam off Minor in the opener and had a sacrifice fly in the finale, both coming in the first inning. The Mets had won 10 of 13 coming in and had a chance to pull to .500 in the opener but are now 70-73.
“We’re trying to win ballgames and obviously like I said it’s been a disappointing season,” Bay said. “You can kind of let it be that way or try to use the last month as a stepping stone going into the offseason and feeling a little bit better of what you’re working on in spring training. That was kind of the focus over the last couple of weeks. It’s definitely nice to get the results but more importantly it kind of feels like I’m getting the process as well.”
Valentino Pascucci singled as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of the night game for his first major league at-bat since the Montreal Expos’ final game in 2004, the 32-year-olds only season in the big leagues until his callup this September.
Gonzalez tried shaking up his scuffling club, losers of five of six over all coming in, by stacking his top on-base percentage guys up front, and his squad, with Jones starting as the No. 2 batter for first time since 1996, responded in the opener.
Cleanup hitter Freddie Freeman(notes) hit a two-run double and Martin Prado(notes) had an RBI single in the first. They each had three hits. Jason Heyward(notes) had the go-ahead hit, an RBI single in the third off Schwinden (0-1). Jones tied it with his 48th homer against the Mets leading off the third, his most against any opponent.
In the opener, a matchup of young starters got off to a rough start. Minor settled down first, though.
Schwinden gave up three runs with two outs in the first. Making his 12th start this year, Minor was tagged for a two-out grand slam in the bottom half. He was nicked for just four more hits in five innings while Schwinden gave up two more runs and left trailing 5-4 after throwing 100 pitched in his five.
“The nerves took over a little bit but it kind of messed with my mechanics a little bit,” Schwinden said.
Notes: The Braves bullpen gave up just one run in 7 2-3 innings combined. … Mets ace Johan Santana(notes) (shoulder) will make his second rehab start Friday with Class-A Savannah in a playoff game. The lefty threw three scoreless innings for Class-A St. Lucie in late July but was shut down because of fatigue in the surgically repaired shoulder. … Mets longtime spokesman Jay Horwitz broke his ankle Thursday and will have surgery on Monday. … Gonzalez said Tommy Hanson(notes) (shoulder tendinitis) could throw off a mound this weekend. Gonzalez said Hanson was progressing nicely.