Atlanta Braves fans are letting Chipper Jones know how much they appreciate his long career. In the Braves' 6-0 over the San Diego Padres at Turner Field on Thursday, Jones blasted two home runs and received two curtain calls.
Even if he just hit one home run, it would have been enough to back Kris Medlen in his starting effort, but he had to hit the second one to complete his 40th career multi-homer game. It also gave him 2,700 career hits to make Chipper the sixth switch-hitter in big league history with as many hits.
"I know he's real because I've touched him," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Some of the stuff he's done is incredible."
Jones put the Braves on the board with a two-out, two-run home run in the first inning off former Brave Jason Marquis. Jones and Jason Heyward would later hit back-to-back home runs off Marquis in a four-run fifth inning. It was Jones' first multi-homer game since June 7, 2009.
The crowd insisted on curtain calls for both dingers, and Chipper was so excited that he spilled water on his jersey before answering the first one.
"I hear the chants and I hear the standing ovations, and it's a little overwhelming, because this normally is a crowd that is pretty laid back, like Atlanta, like me — I would be the same way," Jones said. "For them to show their appreciation like that is very overwhelming."
The win was the Braves' 17th in 22 games, but the Braves also won the 15th straight game started by Medlen, who threw his first career shutout. The 15 straight wins by the club matches John Smoltz's franchise record when he won 15 consecutive starts in his 1996 Cy Young season.
Medlen handled a number of comebackers on the mound in his five-hit shutout performance, most notably when he fielded an Everth Cabrera dribbler to get Marquis out at the plate to preserve the shutout.
"I knew the pitcher was on third, and at the time it, was a 2-0 game and it would have been a one-run game so I thought it was a big run," Medlen said. "I turned and looked, and I was either going to throw it or not because I knew I still had time for first base."
The righty is making a case to remain in the rotation when it reverts to five men in September; he has given up only three runs in 25 2/3 innings in his starts.
Heywar'd's home run in the fifth was his 20th for the year, the first time in his career he has reached that mark. It also led to Dan Uggla hitting a double and Paul Janish hitting a two-run single off Brad Boxberger.
The Washington Nationals were idle Thursday, allowing the Braves to climb within four games of the NL East lead.
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