Chipper Jones is calling it quits after this season and would enjoy nothing more than to get another chance at winning a World Series.
The veteran and face of the Atlanta Braves showed he still has a spring in his step and looks to resume tapping into the fountain of youth tonight in the opener of a three-game series versus the Los Angeles Dodgers at Turner Field. Jones helped the Braves to a 6-0 win over the San Diego Padres in Thursday's finale of a four-game set with a pair of home runs and three runs batted in.
Jones, 40, passed Dave Winfield for 32nd place on the all-time home run list (466) on a night the Braves gave away his bobblehead. He now has 2,700 career hits and recorded his 40th career multi-home run game -- his first since June 7, 2009 against Milwaukee. Jones cherished the moment afterward.
"At some point, whether it's rounding the bases or walking out to the car after a game, I'm saying to myself, 'You better cherish it, it might be the last time,'" Jones said. "You never know when that last homer's going to be, when that last hit's going to be."
Jason Heyward will most likely take the torch from Jones when he retires and finished 3-for-4 with a home run for Atlanta, which has won three in a row and 17 of its last 22 games. Paul Janish added two hits and two RBI, while starting pitcher Kris Medlen went the distance for the first time in his career. Medlen scattered five hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter.
"That was super cool," Medlen said. "I had some balls squared up pretty good, but it was just luck of the draw that they were right at people."
Tommy Hanson hopes his return from the disabled list because of a lower back issue goes as smoothly as Medlen's start, as he is set to take the mound Friday night to kick off Civil Rights Weekend. Hanson hasn't pitched since July 30 in an 8-2 win over Miami and allowed one run in five innings that day to improve to 12-5 in 22 starts with a 4.29 earned run average.
Hanson is 3-0 in his past five starts and will make his fourth career starts against Los Angeles, The right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA through the first three outings in this series.
The Dodgers will begin the last leg of their 10-game road trip and came up short in their bid for a four-game sweep in Pittsburgh with Thursday's 10-6 loss at PNC Park.
Homers by Hanley Ramirez and James Loney weren't enough and starter Joe Blanton was hammered to the tune of eight runs and seven hits, including three home runs, in just 4 1/3 innings.
"I gave up two three-run homers to Garrett Jones," Blanton said. "I made a couple of mistakes with runners on. I mean, that was six of the runs right there. That made it tough."
Blanton, Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp and manager Don Mattingly were all ejected for expressing their displeasure for home plate umpire Angel Campos. Mattingly was tossed by crew chief Tim Tschida. Kemp was cheering for teammate Andre Ethier during his at-bat when Campos sent him to the showers.
"It's unbelievable, man. I don't get it," Kemp said on the club's website. "I'm sitting here, watching the game. There's some big moments, you know, bases loaded. You think about things like that. You might be up to bat. You might get that big hit.
"But that wasn't able to happen today, because I got kicked out of the game for something that wasn't worth getting kicked out of the game for."
Los Angeles entered the game having won four straight and nine of 12 games, and still leads the National League West by one-half game ahead of San Francisco. It is 5-2 so far on the road trip.
Chris Capuano will take the mound for the Dodgers this evening and will try to string consecutive winning starts together for the first time since late May. He ended a three-game losing streak his last time out in a 5-0 win at Miami, as he tossed eight shutout innings and struck out 10 batters.
Capuano pushed his record to 11-8 in 24 starts and lowered his earned run average to 3.11. The left-hander defeated the Braves back on April 23 with seven innings of one-run ball in a 7-2 triumph and is 5-3 with a 2.64 ERA in 11 career games (9 starts) against them.
Atlanta still won that series, 2-1, but is 3-5 in the past eight meetings.