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Braves chase off Lee, top Phillies

Chipper gets 2500th career hit

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Posted: April 8, 2011 10:54 p.m.
Updated: April 8, 2011 10:53 p.m.
Braves chase off Lee, top Phillies

Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones acknowledges the crowd after getting his 2,500th career hit in the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in Atlanta Friday. His hit came off Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo (58).


    ATLANTA — Chipper Jones hit a go-ahead, three-run double in the fourth inning off Cliff Lee and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3 on Friday night in their home opener.
    Jones had two hits, giving him 2,500 for his career.
    Lee (1-1) couldn't hold an early 3-0 lead as the Braves scored three runs in the second and then knocked the left-hander out of the game with three in the fourth.
    Tim Hudson (2-0) spotted the Phillies three runs before finishing strong. He gave up eight hits and two earned, with no walks in 7 2-3 innings.
    The Braves won in the home debut for first-year manager Fredi Gonzalez, who caught the pregame first pitch from his predecessor, Bobby Cox.
    Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his third save, striking out former Braves utility man Pete Orr to end the game.
    Martin Prado, who had three hits, and Alex Gonzalez had run-scoring doubles for Atlanta in the second. Jason Heyward led off the inning with a triple.
    Lee lasted only 3.1 innings, giving up 10 hits and six runs with a walk and one hit batter. He struck out three. The left-hander's outing was his shortest since Sept. 4, 2009, when he lasted only three innings for Philadelphia in a 7-0 loss at Houston.
    Jones reached the milestone with a sixth-inning single off Antonio Bastardo. He raised his helmet as the sellout crowd of 51,331 — including Cox and his family — cheered.

Jones is the ninth switch-hitter to reach 2,500 hits. The three RBIs left him with 1,497. If he drives in three more runs, Jones will join Eddie Murray as the only switch-hitters with at least 2,500 hits and 1,500 RBIs.

Before the game, the 38-year-old Jones called 2,500 hits "a nice round number" but said the milestone is "not a huge deal."

Cox, wearing his No. 6 jersey over khaki pants, tipped his Braves cap to the fans before throwing the pitch — a little wide — from the front of the mound. Gonzalez, a former catcher, caught the pitch and the two then embraced briefly.

"I threw a four-seamer that sunk," Cox said.

Gonzalez was Cox's third base coach from 2003-06.

The Braves did not announce the unusual pairing for the first pitch. Last year, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron threw the first pitch to then-rookie right fielder Jason Heyward.

Cox, fourth all-time with 2,504 wins, including 2,149 in 25 years with the Braves, retired after last season.

NOTES: Bastardo recorded six straight strikeouts after giving up Jones' milestone hit. ... The Braves optioned LHP Mike Minor to Triple-A Gwinnett and purchased the contract of C J.C. Boscan. Minor made a fill-in start in a 5-4 loss at Milwaukee on Wednesday as RHP Jair Jurrjens opened the season on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. Jurrjens will make a rehab start for Gwinnett on Monday and could then return to Atlanta. ... Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, attended the game and sat near Cox's family.

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