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Chipper chops Giants

ATLANTA - Talk about timing. If Bobby Cox was going to break a dubious record, he couldn't have picked a better moment.

Cox was tossed after the fifth inning Tuesday night, breaking John McGraw's record for career ejections, but it fired up Atlanta and may have kept Chipper Jones around to drive home the winning run.

Rallying from a 3-0 deficit after their manager was thrown out, the Braves defeated the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Jones' run-scoring double in the ninth inning.

"You could sense the frustration mounting up," Jones said. "When Bobby saw I was not long for this game, he decided to take over. It worked."

Atlanta's cantankerous manager was tossed after the fifth for arguing a called third strike on Jones _ the 132nd ejection of his career to break the mark originally set by Hall of Famer John McGraw.

After closer Bob Wickman blew a 4-3 lead in the top of the ninth, the Braves finished off the Giants in the bottom.

Willie Harris led off with a walk against Steve Kline (1-1), and Kelly Johnson reached on a throwing error by Kline while bunting the runner along. Randy Messenger came on to give up Jones' game-winning hit, which split the gap in left-center.

While baseball doesn't keep records on ejections, the Society for American Baseball Research determined that McGraw was ejected 131 times in his career. That's now only good enough for second place behind Cox.

"If he was going to get it, I'm glad that it came on behalf of me," Jones said with a smile.

Since McGraw was kicked out 14 times as player, Cox already held the mark for managers. He shrugged off his spot in the unofficial record book.

"It's absolutely no factor. It's nothing," Cox said. "It just means I've been around a long time, that's all."

Barry Bonds was in Hank Aaron's home city for the first time since breaking the Hammer's record. The new home run king went 0-for-1 with two walks before coming out in the fifth inning.

The Braves gave tepid recognition to the new record holder, replaying a taped tribute from Aaron that was initially shown on the video board in San Francisco after he hit No. 756 last week. Bonds was greeted with plenty of boos and signs questioning the legitimacy of his accomplishment in light of suspicions that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

Aaron, a senior vice president of the Braves, wasn't at the game. The team said he left Tuesday on a trip and wouldn't return until after the three-game series.

Cox was tossed by plate umpire Ted Barrett after Jones was called out on strikes to end the fifth, with runners at second and third and the Braves trailing 3-0.

Jones was fortunate to stay in the game. He tossed his bat about 80 feet toward the Braves dugout, threw his helmet nearly as far and clearly muttered a couple of expletives.

Asked how he kept from getting ejected, Jones replied, "Good question. But it's a good thing I didn't."

Barrett said he wasn't aware of Cox's record.

"Last time we were here, I knew he had tied it before we came in," the umpire said. "I didn't know he hadn't had any ejections since then."

The reason for the heave-ho: "Just routine arguing balls and strikes," Barrett said. "Nothing out of the ordinary from other ejections."

The Giants weren't much happier with Barrett than the Braves.

"He had a tough time behind the plate tonight," first baseman Ryan Klesko said. "And it was both sides. Guys were questioning his strike zone all night. They can't have great days all the time."

After Cox was tossed, the Braves rallied.

Mark Teixeira sparked a four-run sixth with a homer to center. He has gone deep five times in 12 games with the Braves, who acquired him from Texas just before the deadline for non-waiver trades. He has 18 homers overall this season.

Brian McCann followed with a single to right against Jack Taschner, who was replaced by Scott Atchison. Jeff Francoeur took a called third strike, but Andruw Jones walked and Yunel Escobar followed with a two-run double to the gap in right center.

Escobar, who has played brilliantly for the Braves since being promoted from the minors, clapped his hands emphatically as he stood at second base. He sped home with the go-ahead run on the very next pitch, scoring on Matt Diaz's pinch-single to center.

Wickman (3-2) cost John Smoltz his 11th win. Pinch-hitter Daniel Ortmeier tripled with one out and wound up scoring on Dave Roberts' groundout with the bases loaded. The Giants reloaded the bases, but Wickman struck out Klesko.

He had been 9-for-9 in save chances at home, going 19 2-3 innings without allowing an earned run.

"I'm glad we got the win," Wickman said. "But it's not my job to get wins. My job is to get saves."

The Giants jumped ahead in the second on a run-scoring single by Pedro Feliz. Klesko stretched the lead with a two-out, two-run double in the third.

Notes:Bonds played in left field under the 755 Club, a restaurant named in honor of Aaron's career homer total. ... Smoltz has gone four starts without a win. His last victory came July 23 at San Francisco. ... Wickman has blown six saves in 25 chances.

Cox sets ejection record, getting tossed for 132nd time
After going 7 1/2 weeks without getting tossed, Bobby Cox finally passed John McGraw for the most ejections in baseball history Tuesday night.

The Atlanta Braves manager was thrown out by plate umpire Ted Barrett for arguing a called third strike on Chipper Jones to end the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants.

It was the 132nd ejection of Cox's career, eclipsing the mark that McGraw set during his Hall of Fame career.

"Just routine arguing balls and strikes, and he was ejected for that," Barrett said. "Nothing out of the ordinary from other ejections."

Jones struck out with runners at second and third and the Braves trailing 3-0. They rallied to win 5-4.

"Bobby had kind of been biting his tongue lately," Jones said. "He was embarrassed by the record. But it was inevitable. He's too passionate about the game."

After taking a pitch over the inside corner from Jack Taschner, Jones flipped his bat some 80 feet toward the Braves dugout, then flung his helmet nearly as far. He also shouted a couple of obscenities before heading to his position at third base.

Moving quickly to take the heat off his player, Cox began arguing from the dugout and was tossed by Barrett. The manager then trotted onto the field, carrying on an animated conversation with the ump for a couple of minutes before heading back to the dugout _ and on to the clubhouse.

"It's nothing," Cox said of the record. "It just means I've been around a long time, that's all."

Most fans and media were unaware that Cox had been ejected. An announcement was made in the press box before the start of the sixth inning, but no acknowledgment was made to the crowd.

Still, the ejection seemed to fire up the Braves. The scored four runs in the sixth and won it on Jones' run-scoring double in the ninth.

"It lit a fire under our butts," said Mark Teixeira, who led off the sixth with a homer. "I'm sure Bobby got his money's worth."

And, yes, the winning hit came from the very same player who was in the middle of Cox's record-setting ejection.

"It was like all the other times Bobby got tossed," Matt Diaz said. "He went out there and he had his player's back."

While baseball doesn't count ejections as an official stat, the Society for American Baseball Research came up with 131 ejections for McGraw. The manager known as "Little Napoleon" was tossed 14 times as a player, so Cox already held the mark for managers.

He tied McGraw's overall record during a June 23 game against the Detroit Tigers. Cox ran on the field hoping to keep catcher Brian McCann from getting ejected over a disputed strike call in the ninth inning.

They both wound up getting tossed by plate umpire Chad Fairchild.

After that, Cox managed to go 43 consecutive games without an ejection.

A night to heal: Bluffton coach returns to city of fatal bus crash
Returning to the city where he was critically injured in a bus crash, Bluffton's baseball coach got a chance to heal a little more Tuesday night.

James Grandey watched from the owner's box as the Atlanta Braves faced Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants.

"It doesn't get any better than this," said Grandey, who chatted with Braves manager Bobby Cox and got an autograph from Atlanta slugger Mark Teixeira beforehand. "This is baseball, a game we all love."

Five of Grandey's players were killed when their bus plunged off a highway overpass in the early morning hours of March 2. The driver and his wife also were killed.

Grandey was critically injured with a dislocated ankle and numerous broken bones in his face. He spent two weeks in an Atlanta hospital before returning home to Ohio.

"Each day we get a little stronger," Grandey said. "The support has been amazing. That's what kept us together."

Before coming to Turner Field, he visited the doctors and nurses who treated him at Piedmont Hospital.

"There were a lot of jokes from them, saying they'd never seen me standing up," said the coach, who attended the game with his wife, Jessica, and their 8-month-old daughter, Ayla.

Grandey said he may visit the site of the crash on Wednesday.

"To be honest, it's a little uneasy, a little eerie," he said. "It would probably be good to go by (the bridge). It may help close some things off."

While Bluffton carried on with its season after the tragic accident, Grandey said everyone is looking forward to the start of a new school year this fall.

"All the players are ready to start school," he said. "They are ready to get back in their routine, get back on the field and have a normal year."

Searing heat

The Braves returned home to find Atlanta still in the grips of a brutal heat wave.

The temperature was 96 degrees at the start of the game, and it was expected to be near 100 the next two days.

Manager Bobby Cox said he would keep an eye on all his players, especially the catchers.

"They have all that gear on and they have to do a lot back there," he said. "You've really got to watch 'em. They can have some heat-related problems."

No MRI for Andruw 

For now, Andruw Jones has decided to play through the pain of his ailing left elbow.

Asked whether he underwent an MRI to determine a possible cause during Monday's off day, Jones shook his head.

"I don't feel like it," he said.

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