Braves’ Jones Chips In With Eighth Homer

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Chipper Jones hit his eighth home run, matching Mark McGwire for the National League lead, as the Atlanta Braves beat the Colorado Rockies, 11-4, Saturday at Denver.

But Jones is not about to start thinking of himself as a slugger.

“I have to enjoy it while I can,” Jones said. “McGwire is going to go on one of those tears again and leave us all in the dust.”

Jones, who has hit four homers in three games, connected for a three-run shot in the second inning at the Braves won their fourth in a row. He also had an RBI double in continuing a torrid April pace where his batting average has reached .433.


“You look for your pitches and when you get them, don’t miss them,” Jones said. “I haven’t been missing them the first two weeks of the season.”

Walt Weiss, who joined the Braves as a free agent after playing four seasons in Colorado, had three hits and two RBIs in his first game back at Coors Field. Another former Rockie, Andres Galarraga, went 0 for 4.

Ellis Burks homered and went three for four for the Rockies, who have lost 10 of 12.

Denny Neagle pitched a seven-hitter for his third consecutive victory in Coors Field. Neagle (2-1) struck out three and walked one in his first complete game this season.


“Denny pitched a masterpiece for this ballpark,” Atlanta Manager Bobby Cox said. “I had someone warming up in the later innings, but Denny’s stuff was too good in the eighth.”

Pedro Astacio (1-3) had his third consecutive poor outing for the Rockies. Astacio, 2-11 lifetime against the Braves, walked five, hit a batter and gave up nine runs in 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander has given up 23 earned runs in his last three starts.

“Pedro is really fighting his control,” Colorado Manager Don Baylor said. “He hasn’t been able to get his breaking ball over on a consistent basis and has been forced to pitch behind in the count.”

San Diego 7, Pittsburgh 5--The Padres scored two runs in the 10th on third baseman Doug Strange’s double error at Pittsburgh, and the Padres won for the 11th time in 12 games.


The Padres’ 14-3 record is the best in the majors and represents the best start in franchise history.

Carlos Hernandez’s homer--one of three by San Diego--helped send the Pirates to their sixth consecutive loss, and their second in as many days when they led in the late innings.

The Padres already have as many late-inning, come-from-behind wins--four in seven opportunities--as some teams do all season. And they obviously don’t get rattled when the opposition scores first; they’re 5-0 when they initially fall behind.

Andy Sheets was three for four with a solo homer as the Padres had 15 hits off six pitchers to overcome a pair of run-producing errors, on shortstop Sheets in the third and third baseman Ken Caminiti in the fifth.


The Padres fell behind, 3-0 and 5-3, before tying it on Wally Joyner’s single and Hernandez’s homer off Marc Wilkins in the eighth inning. Hernandez was in a one-for-12 slump before hitting his second homer.

St. Louis 6, Philadelphia 5--Manny Aybar (2-2) gave up two runs and six hits and also hit an RBI single as the Cardinals won at St. Louis.

Royce Clayton and John Mabry each hit two doubles and drove in two runs for the Cardinals.

Jeff Brantley gave up Mark Lewis’ solo homer in the ninth but got three outs for his third save. Doug Glanville, who earlier hit a two-run homer, lined out with a runner on third to end the game.


New York 5, Cincinnati 4--This one at Cincinnati wasn’t exactly deja vu, but it was close.

Twice in two games, the Mets’ Rich Becker was on third with the game on the line when a grounder was hit to Cincinnati third baseman Willie Greene.

Friday night, Becker was thrown out at the plate trying to score the tying run in the eighth. In the 10th inning Saturday, Greene’s throw to first took Dmitri Young off the bag, allowing Becker to score the winning run.

Greene declined to come out of the player’s lounge after the game.


Arizona 7, Florida 5--Jay Bell and Karim Garcia homered during a four-run rally in the seventh inning at Phoenix and the Diamondbacks won their season-high third game in a row.

“I remember in the early ‘90s when we were winning in Pittsburgh, we thought we could win whenever we went out there,” said Bell, whose four homers tie him with Matt Williams for the team lead. “Winning to a very great extent is an attitude. That’s what we need here.”

Houston 4, Montreal 3--Sean Berry hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Astros the victory at Houston.