Andruw Jones hit his ninth home run in the last 11 games and
drove in three runs as the Braves beat the struggling Florida
Marlins 8-0 Wednesday night.
"If it isn't Chipper, it's Andruw," Marlins manager Jack
McKeon said. "He may cool off, but right now he's hot. He's a guy
who can hit 30, 40, even 50."
Jones' homer gave him the NL lead with 21 and gave the Braves a
4-0 lead in the fifth inning. The shot off Brian Moehler traveled
an estimated 432 feet to left field.
Jones' homer streak began when he hit two against Oakland on
June 11, five days after Chipper Jones was placed on the disabled
list with a foot injury. Chipper Jones is expected to miss at least
a few more weeks while his foot remains immobilized, leaving Andruw
as the cleanup hitter and veteran leader on a team playing without
at least three of its five starting pitchers.
The status of another Braves pitcher is in question. Horacio
Ramirez left Wednesday night's game with a strained groin after
throwing five shutout innings.
"We're going to wait a couple of days and see how it goes,"
Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We haven't crossed him off his
next start, that's for sure."
Ramirez, who was injured running out a double in the fifth, said
he didn't think the injury was serious enough to force him to miss
"We're leaning towards me starting," Ramirez said. "We don't
think it's that bad.
"I want to start in five days. I want to be out there. I'm
going to do everything in my power to be able to accomplish that."
Rookie Kelly Johnson had three hits and a walk as the Braves won
for the fifth time in six games.
Florida has lost four of its last five games to fall to .500
(34-34) for the first time since they were 6-6.
Including Tuesday's 5-0 loss to the Braves, the Marlins haven't
scored in 24 innings, the third-longest drought in franchise
history. Their longest streak was 28 innings in September 1993.
In the losses to the Braves, the Marlins had only one baserunner
reach third base -- pinch-hitter Damion Easley, who was stranded
there in the ninth inning Wednesday night after leading off with a
"When you're going good, it snowballs, and when you're going
bad, it snowballs until you break it loose," McKeon said. "It's
tough when you only get one guy to third base in two games. We
can't get that opening."
Ramirez (6-4) threw only 66 pitches while giving up three hits
in five innings. He is 3-0 with two no-decisions in June.
Moehler (2-5) gave up six hits and four runs while walking four
in five innings.
"I was horrible," Moehler said. "My pitches were up. I
deserved the fate I got tonight."
The Braves settled for one run in the first after loading the
bases with no outs on two walks and an infield hit by Johnson.
Rafael Furcal, who led off with a walk, scored on Jones' fly ball
Jones' homer capped the Braves' three-run fifth inning. Ramirez
led off with a double and scored when Marlins right fielder Jeff
Conine bobbled Johnson's single for an error.
The Braves made it 8-0 with three runs in the seventh against
Riedling and Valerio De Los Santos. Two runs scored on Marcus
Giles' ground-rule double off Riedling over the center-field wall.
Riedling gave up five hits and four runs.
RHP Randy Messenger made his major league debut as
Florida's fourth reliever, pitching a scoreless eighth inning. ...
Cox tied Walter Alston for seventh on the all-time managing list
with 2,040 wins. Earlier this season, Cox moved past Leo Durocher
(2,009). ... Johnson extended his hitting streak to eight games,
matching the team's longest of the year.