Jones hit his 300th career home run to lead the Braves to a 5-4
win over the San Diego Padres on Monday night.With his fifth homer in four games, Jones became the fourth
player in franchise history to reach 300 -- joining Hank Aaron
(733), Eddie Mathews (493) and Dale Murphy (371)."Everyone knows how good of a hitter he is," winning pitcher
Mike Hampton said. "He's our guy, he's our horse."Jones, who has missed 23 games because of injuries, said he's
feeling as good as he has all season."I expect (a lot) of myself," Jones said. "I expected to be
doing a lot more than I have. Unfortunately, injuries haven't
really allowed me to get into a groove. We still have a month and a
half left in the season. It's good to be finally contributing on a
daily basis."J.D. Drew and Andruw Jones also homered for the Braves, who won
for the ninth time in 12 games. Atlanta has also won 17 of its last
20 road games."The long ball beat us," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said.
"Keeping the ball in the ballpark was a problem. They have a lot
of power over there and we made some mistakes and paid for it."Hampton (9-8) held the Padres to three runs on seven hits in
seven-plus innings, winning his seventh straight decision. He
struck out three and walked two."I have a lot of confidence in him," Braves manager Bobby Cox
said. "He's been on a nice roll for us."John Smoltz got four outs for his 30th save in 32 chances.Chipper Jones hit a full-count fastball off Sterling Hitchcock
that bounced off the second deck of the Western Metal Supply Co.
building beyond the left-field fence and gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead.The home run was Jones' 20th of the season, marking the 10th
straight year he's reached that mark. Jones also moved past Ruben
Sierra of the New York Yankees into fifth place on the career
homers list for switch-hitters."Three hundred is special," said Jones, who picked up his
1,000th career RBI on Sunday night against St. Louis said.
"Hopefully, I can stay healthy enough to shoot for 400. I can't
stand too many more years like this year. It's been a rough year
physically. Hopefully, those woes are behind me and we can
concentrate on the next 100."Drew tied his career high with his 27th homer, a two-run shot
off Blaine Neal in the seventh to give Atlanta a 5-1 cushion.Hampton left after walking Khalil Greene to start the seventh
with a 5-2 lead. Chris Reitsma gave up a single to Rich Aurilia
and, with two outs, was relieved by Smoltz.Brian Giles singled in a run and Ryan Klesko hit a soft roller
up the middle to bring in another run to cut the lead to 5-4.
Smoltz then struck out Jay Payton looking to end the inning.Hampton escaped a jam in the second with an inning-ending double
play. Giles and Klesko had consecutive singles to start the second.
But after striking out Payton, Hampton induced Ramon Hernandez into
the double play.Hampton helped himself in the second with a one-out RBI double
that scored Eli Marrero, who doubled following Andruw Jones'
leadoff homer."Right now, with my velocity and stuff, I'm not able to make a
lot of mistakes and get away with it," Hitchcock said.Hitchcock (0-3) is winless in three starts since coming back on
Aug. 5 after being sidelined with injuries since spring training.
Hitchcock allowed four runs on six hits in 6 1-3 innings, his
longest outing of the season.The Padres scored in the fourth to cut the lead to 3-1 on an RBI
single by Phil Nevin. San Diego added another run in the seventh
after Payton tripled with two outs and Hernandez singled.
San Diego, coming off a 4-2 road trip, has lost seven of
its last eight home games. ... Atlanta has the best record in the
majors since June 25 at 34-11. ... Andruw Jones has 241 career
homers, placing him fifth on the Braves' career list. ... The
Padres, who have a major league-low 89 home runs, have hit only 37
in 61 home games. ... Smoltz has at least 30 saves in three