Jones' 3 RBIs help Braves beat Latos, Padres 7-0
SAN DIEGO – Chipper Jones didn't stay tied with Mickey Mantle for long.
"I put him in the rearview mirror," Jones quipped after hitting a two-run triple and finishing with three RBIs as the Atlanta Braves beat San Diego 7-0 Wednesday, leaving Padres ace Mat Latos winless since September.
Jones moved out of a tie with 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.
Jones moved into a tie with the Mick by hitting a two-run homer on Tuesday night. He passed him with an RBI groundout in the first inning, then added the two-run triple in the five-run second.
Jones, whose parents idolized Mantle, said his father texted him both Tuesday night and on Wednesday.
"I've been in the shadow of Mickey Mantle my whole youth. I could sense he and mom were welling up last night when I tied him, so I can't imagine what it was like today," Jones said.
"It's gratifying," he added. "I look at the numbers as me just going out and doing my job. That's the way I've always approached it. I never really thought about my place or anything like that. When you grew up hearing about Mickey the way I did, and with the reverence that I heard, to pass him in career RBIs, that's quite a feat."
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.
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 fielder Cameron Maybin, who was retreating and turned the wrong way. Jones scored on Brian McCann's double to right, making it 6-0.
"It was a big spot. We had them on the ropes early," Jones said. "I didn't even realize that Martin's ball was an error until later. I thought it was a hit. obviously that was a big play. It extended the inning. It gave Jason, myself an Mac an opportunity to put the game out of reach."
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.
After losing three of four games in Los Angeles, the Braves swept a three-game series at San Francisco and took two of three from the Padres. Hanson beat San Francisco 4-1 on Friday night.
"Getting that lead always helps, and it was just one of those days where all four of my pitches were working," Hanson said. "I was getting outs with all four of my pitches. I kept them off balance pretty good."
Hanson "has an electric fastball," San Diego's Orlando Hudson said. "He threw more off-speed pitches today. He threw a slider for strikes, kept it down, threw a good curveball and had his changeup working, plus they swung a good bat."
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 for San Diego.
NOTES: The Braves went 6-4 on a trip through Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, including a three-game sweep of the Giants. ... The Padres are off Thursday after playing 20 games in 20 days, tied for their longest stretch of the season.