ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Chipper Jones is pretty sure his last trip to Tropicana Field has ended early.
Jones left after seven innings of the Atlanta Braves' 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night because of a bruised left calf.The third baseman stayed in the game after B.J. Upton's hard one-hop infield single hit his leg in the third. Juan Francisco pinch hit for Jones in the eighth."My career in Tampa is over," said Jones, who showed reporters a nasty, ball-size bruise just above the ankle while sitting at his locker. "That really hurt. If you're standing 85 feet from home plate and somebody hits a rocket at you, you better get a glove on it. I didn't."Jones, who is retiring after this season, is day to day."We'll check it, but he'll have a tough time playing (Saturday)," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said.Jones received a partial standing ovation before his first at-bat leading off the second. After he tipped his helmet to the crowd, Jones singled to center. The Florida native later scored from third to make it 2-0 on a wild pitch by James Shields.Tommy Hanson pitched seven effective innings, and Freddie Freeman drove in two runs as the Braves won for the sixth time in the past eight games.Hanson (5-3) allowed two runs and six hits. Freeman had a run-scoring double and Brian McCann hit an RBI single that put the Braves up 4-2 in the fifth."I feel real good," Hanson said. "I think the biggest thing right now is my fastball command. When it's there, I'm throwing really well and everything else kind of follows that."Shields (6-2) gave up four runs and seven hits over six innings for Tampa Bay. Luke Scott had two RBIs."I definitely put that loss on me," Shields said. "They have good hitters one through nine. Hanson pitched a good game. You definitely know why they are at the top of their division."Jonny Venters gave up Scott's RBI single in the eighth before Craig Kimbrel got three outs for his 12th save.Martin Prado doubled and scored on Freeman's single as the Braves took a 1-0 lead in the first. Prado extended Atlanta's advantage to 5-2 on a solo homer off J.P. Howell in the seventh.Tampa Bay got within 2-1 on Elliot Johnson's RBI bunt single in the second. Scott tied it 2-all on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the third, when right fielder Jason Heyward made a nice running catch."That ball kept hooking towards the line," Gonzalez said. "We had a perfect angle in the dugout and at first (we thought) it was going to drop. He really narrowed the ground there."
Jones, who went 1 for 3, enjoys playing in domed stadiums such as Tropicana Field. "You don't have wind, you don't have rain," Jones said. "Most baseball players like the conditions perfect." ... The Rays recalled RHP Alex Cobb from Triple-A Durham to start Saturday's game. He is taking the spot of RHP Jeff Niemann, who is on the 60-day DL with a right leg injury. To make room for Cobb, Tampa Bay optioned RHP Josh Lueke to Durham. ... Hanson struck out Rays 1B Carlos Pena on a 14-pitch at-bat in the sixth. "It was a battle between me and him, and I just kept pumping strikes in there and it turned out I got the strikeout," Hanson said.