ATLANTA (AP) -- When Andruw Jones walked to the plate to lead off
the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday, the cheer from the stands
showed the fans were thinking the same thing as Jones' teammates:
Jones delivered, lifting a 1-2 pitch just over the left-field
wall to give Atlanta a 5-4 win over Baltimore as the Braves
recovered after wasting a four-run lead.
"I was trying to get it over with, and I came through," Jones
The homer gave Jones the major league lead with 23. He has hit
home runs in six of the last eight games -- including a two-homer
game -- and has carried the Braves since Chipper Jones hurt a foot,
an injury expected to sideline him for four to six weeks.
"It's getting to the point where it wasn't exactly a big
surprise because he hadn't hit a home run yet and he hits about one
a night," said Atlanta's Adam LaRoche, whose pinch-hit single
broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning.
"He's in one of those periods where you do expect it," Braves
manager Bobby Cox said. "Nothing is going to shock you."
Atlanta took a 4-0 lead in the seventh inning, but Baltimore
scored one run in the eighth and tied the game with three runs off
closer Chris Reitsma in the ninth.
"To come back like that and to lose it on the first hitter,
it's a bitter pill to swallow," Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli
Jones' homer off Todd Williams (0-1) gave the Braves their
seventh win in nine games.
"I'm not trying to lead the league in home runs," Jones said.
"I'm just trying to go out and hit the ball and make my team
"I should have left the 6-foot-2 guy in there," Mazzilli said,
referring to Bigbie, who is 4 inches taller than Newhan.
Jones, hitting cleanup, has three hits and two RBI.
One day after falling out of first place in the AL East for the
first time since April 23, the Orioles lost for the ninth time in
11 road games. They have lost four straight games, their longest
skid of the season, including the first two games of the three-game
Trailing 4-1, the Orioles rallied in the top half of the ninth
against Reitsma, who had forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk
in the eighth. Consecutive singles by Sal Fasano, Newhan and Brian
Roberts drove in one run.
Luis Matos followed with a bunt single, and Newhan scored on a
throwing error by third baseman Wilson Betemit. After Miguel
Tejada's grounder forced out Matos at second, Rafael Palmeiro
singled in the tying run.
Reitsma, who blew his third save opportunity in nine chances,
was pulled in favor of rookie Jorge Vasquez (1-0), who loaded the
bases with a walk to Sammy Sosa. Vazquez then retired pinch-hitter
Geronimo Gil on an inning-ending double play.
Roman Colon pitched six scoreless innings in his first major
league start for Atlanta, allowing four hits and one walk and
striking out four. He was 0-3 with an 8.50 ERA in 18 games as a
reliever before he was optioned to Double-A Mississippi on June 11,
then was recalled Saturday.
"The guys said we'll help you if you just go five," Colon
said. "Today I say how about six? Next time, maybe seven."
Baltimore starter Bruce Chen threw 4 2/3 shutout innings before
leaving with a sprained big toe on his left foot. X-rays were
Atlanta went ahead with four runs in the seventh off Jorge
Betemit led off the seventh with a double to center, the Braves'
first extra-base hit. LaRoche singled to drive in the go-ahead run,
Rafael Fucal sacrificed, Kelly Johnson was intentionally walked and
Julio threw a pair of wild pitches, the latter on ball four to
Marcus Giles as pinch-runner Pete Orr scored.
Baltimore loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth off Jim
Brower, who gave up hits to Roberts and Tejada, then walked Sosa.
Reitsma relieved, forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk to
Bigbie and retired Chris Gomez on a groundout.
Johnson's third-inning single gave him an 11-game hitting
streak, the longest of the season for the Braves. ... Baltimore's
40-year-old Palmeiro laughed with Atlanta's 46-year-old Franco at
first base after Franco reached on a bunt single in the fourth. ...
Chen was making his first start against the Braves, his original