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Early offense lifts Braves
Braves Padres Basebal Heal
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tommy Hanson works against the San Diego Padres in the first inning of Wednesday's game in San Diego. - photo by Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Chipper Jones hit a two-run triple and finished with three RBIs as the Atlanta Braves beat San Diego 7-0 Wednesday, leaving Padres ace Mat Latos winless since September.

Braves starter Tommy Hanson (3-3) struck out 10 and walked only one in seven innings and combined with two relievers on a four-hitter. The Padres were shut out for the major league-leading seventh time in 25 games, and for the third time on a seven-game homestand. San Diego scored only 10 runs in the seven games.

Jones moved out of a tie with Mickey Mantle and into sole possession of second place among switch-hitters with 1,512 RBIs. Hall of Famer Eddie Murray tops the list at 1,917.

Latos (0-4) has lost nine straight starts dating to last season, matching the longest streak in club history. Only one of the six runs he allowed was earned. A fielding error by first baseman Brad Hawpe with two outs in the second inning led to the Braves scoring five unearned runs.

Jones' groundout in the first brought in Martin Prado, who doubled to left on Latos' first pitch of the game and advanced on Jason Heyward's fly out.

Latos almost got out of the second inning unscathed even though he allowed Freddie Freeman's leadoff double down the right-field line and Nate McLouth's one-out single to center, which wasn't deep enough to bring in Freeman.

After Latos struck out Hanson, Prado hit a grounder down the first-base line. Hawpe tried to backhand it but it went under his glove for an error, allowing Freeman and McLouth to score. Heyward beat out an infield single and Jones tripled over the head of center field Cameron Maybin, who was retreating and turned the wrong way. Jones scored on Brian McCann's double to right, making it 6-0.

Hawpe was signed to replace Adrian Gonzalez, a three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner who was traded to Boston in December. Hawpe, who played only a handful of games at first in his major league career before this season, has had a rough year in the field and at the plate.

Latos went five innings, with five strikeouts and one walk. Andy Benes (Sept. 6, 1993-April 19, 1994) and Dennis Rasmussen (June 26-Aug. 9, 1991) also lost nine straight starts.


McDowell in hot water over profane remarks/gestures

Atlanta pitching coach Roger McDowell issued an apology on Wednesday in response to a fan's complaint that McDowell spewed homophobic comments, made crude sexual gestures and threatened to knock out his teeth with a bat before the Braves played the San Francisco Giants over the weekend.

"I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday. I apologize to everyone for my actions," McDowell said in a statement.

Justin Quinn, 33, of Fresno said he was in the stands at AT&T Park in San Francisco during pregame batting practice with his wife and 9-year-old twin daughters when he noticed McDowell hectoring three men and asking them, "Are you guys a homo couple or a threesome?" Quinn said he proceeded to make crude sexual gestures with his hips and a bat.

Quinn, who was down in front of the field, then shouted, "Hey there are kids out here," he said during a news conference at the Los Angeles office of noted attorney Gloria Allred.

Quinn alleged that the coach replied that kids don't belong at a baseball park, picked up a bat, walked up to Quinn and asked him, "How much are your teeth worth?"

Quinn said he felt threatened and was unsure whether McDowell intended to hit him.

"My kids are in panic mode ... they're like grabbing onto me," Quinn said. "I'm talking to him, trying to calm him down and the kids are screaming."

Some parents who were in the stands with their children began to boo at McDowell and came down to retrieve their children. Quinn said that eventually McDowell walked away.

Quinn said he filed a complaint with Giants personnel and also with police but missed most of the game, although his wife and daughters stayed to see it.