Yanks not so ‘chipper’ as winning streak ends
Chipper Jones has been enjoying his time at Yankee Stadium this week. The Braves’ third baseman will retire at the end of this season and is in smell-the-roses mode. There is definitely a case of mutual respect between Jones and Yankees captain Derek Jeter. The two have chatted it up throughout the two series.
Jones, whose former Atlanta teammate Andruw Jones is now with the Yankees, is one of the game’s greatest switch hitters. His father was a huge Mickey Mantle fan as a kid and taught his son to switch-hit. Before the Yankees and Braves play the finale of their series Wednesday, Jones plans to visit the New York Yankees Museum presented by Bank of America at the Stadium to view the special exhibit on Mantle.
I am not a big fan of inter-league play, but clearly the best thing about it is the opportunity to see great players from the other league in your ballpark. Sure, the Yankees just saw Chipper a week ago in Atlanta, but what a treat to see him at the Stadium. Not all of Jones’ memories of the old Stadium are positive. He was on Braves teams that lost the World Series to the Yankees in 1996 and 1999.
Perhaps there was a sense of revenge achieved as Jones helped the Braves end the Yankees’ 10-game winning streak with a 4-3 victory, only their third loss in 14 inter-league games this year.
Chipper, who has tormented the Mets throughout his career, was in the middle of a lot of stuff Tuesday night. He doubled home a run in the fourth inning off Hiroki Kuroda that tied the score. Jones failed to reach the plate, however, before Jason Heyward was gunned down at third base on a strong throw from Curtis Granderson in center field for the third out. One run scored on Andrelton Simmons’ single to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead, but Heyward was tagged at third by Chavez about a half-second before Jones hit the plate.
The Yankees took advantage of an error by Jones to tie the score in the bottom of the fourth without a hit. With two out and runners on first and second, Russell Martin hit a hard line drive that dipped as it approached Jones and went off his glove, allowing Raul Ibanez to score from second base.
In the sixth, Kuroda clearly pitched around Jones with Brian McCann, who led off the inning with a double, on third base and two out. The deliberate if not intentional walk to Jones preceded a hard grounder by Heyward that went under the glove of first baseman Mark Teixeira and struck him in the left heel and caromed toward second base for a single as Atlanta regained the lead.
Jones helped maintain that lead with a dazzling play to atone for the earlier boot. The Yankees had runners on second and third with one out when Teixeira hit a hard chopper to third that Jones gloved with a backhand scoop on the in-between hop and fired a strike to McCann the catcher to nail Granderson at the plate.
It was a tough loss for the Yankees. One-run losses always are, particularly those in which two runners are thrown out on the bases. Yet those in the crowd of 41,219 at the Stadium got to see why the guy at third base for Atlanta is likely to have a place in Cooperstown in about five years.