0

Jones, Braves hang on to beat Padres for 4th straight win

ATLANTA - Chipper Jones hit his 10th homer, Jair Jurrjens pitched six strong innings and the Atlanta Braves beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 on Tuesday night to improve the NL's best home record.

Mark Kotsay added two hits, including a homer, and drove in two runs. Kotsay also delivered the defensive play of the game in the fifth inning, making an over-the-shoulder catch at the warning track of Tadahito Iguchi's drive.

The Braves have won four straight, all at home, where they improved to 12-4 overall.

Jurrjens (4-2) matched his career high with eight strikeouts and gave up seven hits with a walk and one run in six innings.

San Diego's Chris Young (2-3) threw 98 pitches in only five innings, giving up nine hits and five runs.

Brian Giles led off the game with a single and scored on a double to the left-field wall by Adrian Gonzalez for a 1-0 lead. Jurrjens (4-2) didn't allow another run.

Manny Acosta, seeking his third save, was pulled after allowing two hits in the ninth. With one out and runners on first and second, manager Bobby Cox brought in left-hander Royce Ring to face Gonzalez, who already had two RBIs.

Gonzalez hit a long fly ball to right that landed foul as Gonzalez shook his head. Gonzalez then struck out, and Jeff Bennett recorded the final out for his first major league save.

Bennett's save came as the Braves continue to scramble to fill bullpen roles.

Braves closer Rafael Soriano, on the disabled list since April 9 with a sore elbow, had more pain while trying to throw in the bullpen Tuesday afternoon. Soriano will be examined today.

Another Atlanta reliever, Peter Moylan, will have elbow surgery - possibly season-ending - on Thursday.

The Braves took a 2-1 lead off Young in the second. Jeff Francoeur hit a one-out double and scored on a single by Kotsay. Gregor Blanco added a run-scoring double.

Jones, who was 7-for-13 with a homer in the Braves' three-game sweep of Cincinnati, added his 10th homer in the third inning, a two-run shot after Yunel Escobar's leadoff single.

Jones is enjoying an early power surge for the second straight year. He hit his 10th homer last season on May 1, but then had only five more before the All-Star break and hit 29 for the season.

Jones' homer gave Atlanta a 4-1 lead. Kotsay added his second homer in two games in the fourth for a 5-1 lead.

Young issued an intentional walk to Jones to load the bases in the fourth. The strategy worked; Mark Teixeira followed with an inning-ending fly ball to left field.

Notes: Plate umpire Wally Bell remained in the game despite having his face mask knocked off by two foul balls. ... Greg Norton, obtained from Seattle on Monday, made his debut for the Braves with a pinch-hit groundout in the sixth.

SideBar: Hometown Braves

How Gwinnett's stars fared in Tuesday's game:

Jeff Francoeur

1-for-4, run, double

Season: .276 avg, 3 HR, 20 RBIs

Brian McCann

0-for-3, walk

Season: .283 avg, 6 HR, 17 RBIs