Chipper Jones, Braves sink Astros to cap 8-2 homestand
ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones added another highlight on his impressive farewell tour as he made the most of his final swings against the Houston Astros.
Jones had two hits in his last two at-bats and scored the go-ahead run on a sixth-inning wild pitch, helping the Atlanta Braves beat the Astros 6-1 on Sunday to finish an 8-2 homestand.
The 40-year-old Jones had a run-scoring double in the seventh and is hitting .320 in his final season.
"Chipper is a Hall of Famer," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He may be the best player I've ever seen play the game."
With the score 1-1 in the sixth, Jones singled and took third on singles by Freddie Freeman and David Ross. Jones scored on a pitch from Bud Norris (5-9) that sailed over catcher Carlos Corporan's glove. Paul Janish then singled in two runs for a 4-1 lead.
Jones finished .322 with 20 homers in his career against the Astros, who dropped to a major league-worst 36-73.
"It's a little sad to know I won't play the Astros anymore," Jones said. "It's hard because the Astros were a rival of ours for so long."
Jones said Astros manager Brad Mills "whistled at me and said something from the dugout" and third base coach Dave Clark "came over and said something to me" about his last game against Houston.
Jones has hits in 29 of his last 33 games. He's hitting well above his career .305 mark, prompting some to wonder whether he will reconsider his retirement plans.
"Maybe," Gonzalez said with a smile.
"No, no," Jones said firmly.
Jones is committed to retiring and has been honored in some cities, including Houston, where he was presented a cowboy hat in April by former Astros star Craig Biggio.
Jonny Venters (4-3) pitched out of a second-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth to win in relief of Kris Medlen, who allowed one run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Atlanta remained three games behind first-place Washington in the NL East.
"They're a good ballclub," Jones said of the Nationals. "We're going to have to go get them. They're not going to come back to the pack. All you can do is try to hold serve at home. An 8-2 homestand, we'll take that any day of the week."
Medlen, who allowed only three hits in his first five innings, left after back-to-back singles to Marwin Gonzalez and Brett Wallace with one out in the sixth. Cory Gearrin gave up a tying double to Justin Maxwell.
Venters, who had been rested due to a sore left elbow, entered in his first appearance since July 29 and struck out pinch-hitter Matt Downs. After an intentional walk to Steve Pearce that loaded the bases, pinch-hitter J.D. Martinez grounded out.
David Ross homered in the second. Michael Bourn singled in a run in the eighth after Rhiner Cruz walked a pair of batters.
Norris gave up only one run and three hits through five innings before Atlanta's three-run sixth.
"I felt good," Norris said. "All the ground balls got through. There's nothing I can do there. I'm making the pitches and unfortunately things didn't go my way."
Mills said Norris "threw the ball well up until the sixth inning."
"He got the leadoff guy out and then a couple singles got it started and he wasn't able to stop it," Mills said.
Atlanta's Dan Uggla was 0 for-4 and his hitting .209. ... Cristhian Martinez had two strikeouts in a perfect ninth inning for Atlanta. ... Astros C Jason Castro, on the 15-day disabled list with swelling in his right knee, is scheduled to report to Triple-A Salt Lake City on Monday. He was scheduled to catch five innings with Double-A Corpus Christi on Sunday. ... RHP Jair Jurrjens, on the DL with a right groin strain, will report to Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday to begin a rehab assignment. Jurrjens had been removed from Atlanta's rotation but will start at Gwinnett. ... LHP Dallas Keuchel will pitch as the Astros open a four-game series at Washington on Monday night. ... RHP Ben Sheets will start when the Braves open a three-game series at the Phillies on Monday night.
ATL Wins 2-1
- Home Plate Umpire - James Hoye
- First Base Umpire - Jim Joyce
- Second Base Umpire - Mike DiMuro
- Third Base Umpire - Jim Reynolds