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Braves hold on to close out L.A. series with 8-6 win

LOS ANGELES - Sometimes when Chipper Jones hears his name mentioned alongside some of the baseball's legendary figures, he has a difficult time believing how much he's accomplished. Dale Murphy probably doesn't.

Jones, one of the game's premier switch-hitters, experienced another historic bench mark on Thursday night. He broke open a tie game with a pair of solo homers in an 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, tying and breaking Murphy's Atlanta Braves record.

"When you think about people that are identified with the Atlanta Braves, you think of Hank Aaron and you think of Murph," Jones said. "Just to be in the same breath with those guys _ Hank, Murph, Eddie Mathews, it's a tremendous honor. I've been very blessed."

Eric Stultz (0-1) took the loss in his first relief outing since getting recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday. Jones drove the left-hander's 3-2 pitch into the left-field pavilion with one out in the sixth, then added his 372nd career homer and 15th of the season leading off the eighth on Chin-hui Tsao's first pitch of the game.

"It was extra-special for me," Jones said. "Murph was the first guy I met when I walked into the clubhouse in Atlanta after I got drafted. I mean, he's still "The Man" in Atlanta. Everytime he walks into that stadium or walks into that clubhouse, he commands respect. He's just a standup guy, a two-time MVP, and everybody loves him to death."

The record-breaking homer just barely cleared the outstretched glove of center fielder Juan Pierre. Jones' homers from both sides of the plate came exactly seven years to the day of his last such two-homer game, against the Montreal Expos. The five-time All-Star has accomplished the lefty-righty feat six times in his career.

"I just wasn't catching up to the fastball, so I had to do a little something to be able to get the bat head where it needs to be," Jones said. "I made a little adjustment left-handed last night in my last at-bat and I made an adjustment right-handed and got instant results. Tonight I hit some balls on the sweet spot."

Peter Moylan (3-1) allowed two hits over two scoreless innings for the win and Bob Wickman got three outs for his 16th save in 20 attempts, helping the Braves gain a split of the four-game series and remain three games behind the New York Mets in the NL East.

Brad Penny, who entered the game with a major league-best 2.00 ERA and was trying to become the first Dodgers pitcher to begin a season 11-1 since Doug Rau in 1977, tied a career high with three RBIs. But he gave up six runs and nine hits over four innings in his last start before his second consecutive All-Star game.

It was only the second time in Penny's last nine starts that he allowed more than one earned run.

"You're not going to be perfect every time out," Penny said. "Sometimes you're going to get beat. This game does that to you. The finger had nothing to do with it."

Braves center fielder Andruw Jones, who won his ninth consecutive Gold Glove last year, committed his second error of the season during a four-run third inning that gave the Dodgers a 6-4 lead against Tim Hudson.

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it. It was a bad night for me, but the guys really did a great job picking me up and scoring some runs," said Hudson, who allowed six runs and 10 hits in three-plus innings. "I hate that I put the bullpen into such a bad spot. They've been logging a bunch of innings lately, and the last thing they needed was for the starter to go three innings tonight."

Penny, who hadn't walked more than two batters in any of his previous 11 starts, walked Chipper and Andruw Jones with two outs in the first after developing a blister on the tip of his index finger. But the right-hander ended the inning by striking out Kelly Johnson.

Dodgers trainer Stan Johnston, who did some quick mending of Penny's finger with a 2-1 count on Chipper Jones, worked on it some more in the dugout later. But Penny's first pitch of the second inning was sent over the center field wall by Jeff Francoeur, triggering a three-run rally that included Edgar Renteria's two-run double with two outs.

Francoeur's ninth homer was only the third given up all season by Penny and the first against him at Dodger Stadium since Sept. 23, 2006, when Carlos Quentin's two-run shot helped the Arizona Diamondbacks beat him 9-3.

"Everything is up from last year except my home runs," Francoeur said. "It might frustrate me a little bit, but at the same time, I realize that I'm still young and I'm trying to still find my swing and figure out where I'm at. And once I do, I'll get going. I don't think there's any reason I won't end up with 20 or 25 homers."

Notes: Chipper Jones reached 372 homers in 6,622 at-bats. Murphy had 7,098 at-bats with the Braves. ... Johnson was moved up in the order from seventh to fifth after All-Star C Brian McCann was scratched from the Braves' original lineup because of a sprained right knee.

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