Braves 12

(12-12, 5-8 away)

Indians 6

(14-11, 7-5 home)

    1:05 PM ET, March 28, 2005

    Chain of Lakes Park, Winter Haven, Florida 

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    ATL 401211210 12 - -
    CLE 001302000 6 - -

    Jones' change in stance yields more long balls

    WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) -- Andruw Jones should have taken Willie Mays' advice a few years back. The "Say Hey Kid" was right all along.

    Using an old batting stance that Mays urged him to go back to, Jones hit his major league-leading ninth and 10th home runs of the spring, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 12-6 win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday.

    "It's all about feeling comfortable up there," Jones said, "and I feel comfortable."

    After hitting 29 homers last season, his fewest since 1999, Jones spent part of the offseason watching film of when he played in the minor leagues. He noticed that his feet were closer together in the batter's box.

    So, when camp opened, Jones widened his stance and the result has been baseballs sailing higher and farther than ever before.

    Mays was the one who first approached Jones about widening his base, which allows him to stay back on the ball and cover more of the plate with his swing.

    "He's a Hall of Famer," Jones said. "I took it [his advice] but I didn't use it right away."

    Meanwhile, Cleveland's Juan Gonzalez, who made the Opening Day roster in his comeback from three injury-prone seasons, was a late scratch from the starting lineup with a tight left hamstring.

    The Indians kept Gonzalez on their roster over top prospect Grady Sizemore on the hope that the two-time AL MVP can stay healthy.

    But he's already missed a game.

    "He's not on the shelf. It's a day-to-day thing," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "We're going to be careful with him. This is a guy who hasn't played a lot in the last two or three years."

    Jones hit an RBI double in the first inning before connecting for a solo homer in the third off Cleveland starter Cliff Lee, who was tagged for seven runs and nine hits in four innings. In the fifth, Jones homered off Arthur Rhodes.

    "I told him to save a couple of those," said Atlanta pitcher Mike Hampton, who allowed seven hits in five innings. "Every game he seems to hit one or two."

    The Braves didn't always keep detailed spring training stats, but Jones' 10 homers are the team's most in training camp since 1990. Jones' previous high in a spring training was seven in 2000.

    "That's the year I hit .300," said Jones, who batted .261 and had 91 RBI last season but was disappointed with his results. "My main goal this year was to be more consistent because last year I wasn't."

    Raul Mondesi and Marcus Giles hit two-run homers and Pete Orr added a solo shot for the Braves, who have homered 36 times this spring.

    Ben Broussard had three hits and two RBI for Cleveland.

    Game notes

    Indians ace C.C. Sabathia pitched two innings in a minor league game, allowing one hit -- a home run. Sabathia is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique muscle and won't start on opening day. As long as he doesn't have any setbacks, Sabathia will make his season debut on April 17 against Minnesota. "I'll just look at the 17th as my opening day," he said. "It's against the Twins, and you know I hate them. And they know it. I'll be fired up." ... Mondesi also doubled and singled in his first game back after missing a week with a hamstring pull. ... The Indians had won five straight.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press