ATLANTA (AP) -- Chipper Jones was back at third base and kept a
rally going in a come-from-behind victory.
For the Atlanta Braves, this seemed just like old times.
Andruw Jones scored the winning run on a wild pitch by Jason
Grimsley in the eighth inning and the Braves beat the Kansas City
Royals 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Chipper Jones made his first start at third base since Oct. 21,
2001, when the Braves lost to Arizona in Game 5 of the NL
championship series. An everyday third baseman from 1995-01, he
went 1-for-4 and made two routine plays in the field.
"I think he's more comfortable at third base," Andruw Jones
said. "And he thinks he can stay healthy there."
An injured right hamstring forced Chipper Jones to the bench,
and he still can't run well enough to cover the outfield. He had
been taking grounders at first in the past few weeks and was
expected to play there; instead, the 1999 NL MVP replaced Mark
DeRosa at third.
Chipper Jones declined to speak with reporters after the game.
Earlier in the day, he appeared to relish the opportunity to return
to the infield, even though he bumped one of his best friends out
of the lineup.
"Third is my natural position, I feel comfortable there,"
Jones said. "I've never played an inning at first. It just seemed
like the natural thing to do."
His teammates adjusted to the change.
"It was great to have him out there, he seemed fine," Braves
starter Russ Ortiz said. "That was what I always remembered him
as, being at third base. But it was a little odd to see him there
Atlanta's comeback ruined a fine performance by Dennys Reyes,
who took a 2-1 lead into the eighth. But he walked Rafael Furcal to
lead off the inning, and Kansas City manager Tony Pena brought in
"He probably did the right thing," Reyes said. "I was not
Nick Green sacrificed Furcal to second, and Andruw Jones singled
up the middle to bring in Furcal with the tying run. Chipper Jones
reached on an error by first baseman Mike Sweeney, and both runners
moved up on a fielder's choice by Johnny Estrada.
"Grimsley did his job and got a groundball," Sweeney said.
"I'll take this loss on my shoulders. No excuses, I didn't make
With a 1-2 count on Julio Franco, Grimsley threw a wild pitch
that allowed Andruw Jones to jog home with the winning run.
"Julio's so tough," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "He
really makes a pitcher battle. You've got to really work to get him
out. That ball hit the ground and just took off."
Grimsley left without speaking to reporters, and his night got
even worse after the game when the Royals released reliever Curtis
Leskanic, one of his best friends on the team.
Reyes tied a career high with the seven innings pitched, and he
allowed two runs on seven hits. Atlanta's Russ Ortiz also gave up
two runs on seven hits in seven innings.
With this three-game series, the Royals have faced every team in
the regular season or playoffs. The Braves still haven't played
Anaheim or the Cleveland Indians, who travel to Atlanta this
Kansas City took a 1-0 lead on Ken Harvey's RBI single in the
first, and the Braves tied it in their half when a double by Andruw
Jones scored Furcal. The Royals gave Reyes that 2-1 lead in the
fourth when Angel Berroa singled home Joe Randa.
^Notes: @ Randa singled in the fourth, giving him 1,000 hits as a
member of the Royals. ... DeRosa lined out to second as a
pinch-hitter in the seventh. ... Atlanta C Johnny Estrada went
0-for-4 to extend his slump to 4-for-22. ... Kansas City fell to
7-21 on the road.