Marlins 5, Braves 1
Chipper Jones just joined Mickey Mantle on a very short list.
Next up: surpssing the Yankees star who inspired Jones' father to teach him to be a switch-hitter.
Jones' ninth-inning home run during a 5-1 loss to the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night gave Jones 1,500 RBIs for his career.
Jones' admiration for Mantle, the former Yankees star, comes from his father, Larry Sr. Chipper joined Eddie Murray (1,917) and Mickey Mantle (1,509) as the only three switch hitters with 1,500.
That's not the number the longtime Atlanta Braves star is focusing on now.
''1,510 will be a pretty cool number,'' Chipper Jones said. ''I'm sure I'll be getting a call from Pops.''
Jones homered in the ninth off Randy Choate for the Braves' only other hit.
Jones reached his second significant career milestone of the opening homestand. He had two hits on Friday night to reach 2,500.
''I can walk away from the park tonight knowing I've been productive for a long time,'' Jones said.
Johnson (2-0), who held the New York Mets hitless for six innings on opening day, dominated the Braves for 7 1-3 innings, striking out nine and walking three.
Freeman doubled down the line past third baseman Greg Dobbs. Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez immediately went out to pull his ace after 109 pitches.
Rodriguez said Johnson, 27, is ''amazing'' but hasn't reached his peak.
''He's still learning. He's still getting better and better,'' Rodriguez said. ''We haven't seen the best of J.J. That's my opinion. I think this year and next year and years to come, he's going to be the best pitcher in baseball. I can see that coming.''
Chris Coghlan had three hits, including a two-run single in a three-run second. Johnson contributed an RBI single and Logan Morrison hit his third homer.
Tim Hudson (2-1) gave up seven hits and five runs in six innings.
Attendance was 14,351, one day after the series opener drew only 13,856, the smallest in Turner Field history.
Johnson came close to a no-hitter in the Marlins' opener, blanking the Mets until Willie Harris led off the seventh inning with a double.
Johnson said a no-hitter ''isn't one of my goals'' but added ''if it happens, it's really special.''
The two-time All-Star who led the NL in ERA last year came even closer this time. With his pitch count rising, Johnson needed only eight pitches to retire the Braves in order in the seventh.
Martin Prado grounded back to Johnson to open the eighth before Freeman's double.
Johnson was trying for Florida's first no-hitter since Anibal Sanchez threw one against Arizona on Sept. 6, 2006. Al Leiter, Kevin Brown and A.J. Burnett also have pitched no-hitters for Florida.
The Braves avoided being no-hit only a few days away from the one-year anniversary of Ubaldo Jimenez's no-hitter at Turner Field on April 17, 2010, in a 4-0 Colorado win.
Coghlan led off the night with his team-leading sixth double but the Marlins didn't have another two-base hit, ending their streak of at least two doubles in 10 straight games.
Hanley Ramirez drove in Coghlan with a single up the middle. Coghlan added a two-run single in the second after Johnson drove in a run with a single, a hit that came after John Buck was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Morrison's homer in the third pushed the lead to 5-0.
NOTES: Jones took a called third strike to end the sixth for his first strikeout of the season. ... Coghlan hit a single in the seventh and, trying for his second double of the game, was thrown out at second by Prado from left field.