Major Leagues: Braves beat Dodgers
By Charles Odum
ATLANTA ó Move over, Andruw Jones. The fans in Willemstad, Curacao, may have a new favorite son.
Jair Jurrjens pitched three-hit ball for seven innings, striking out Jones three times, and the Atlanta Braves beat Los Angeles 6-1 Sunday for their first sweep of the Dodgers in eight years.
Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove winner with the Braves before signing with the Dodgers, was only the second major league player from Curacao. Jones followed Hensley Meulens, who played for the Yankees from 1989-93.
Jurrjens said he was a bat boy when his older brother and Jones played in an amateur league in Curacao. He said facing the star for the first time was a thrill.
“I try not to look at him because I know he’s going to smile,” Jurrjens said of Jones.
Jurrjens said he hasn’t surpassed Jones as Curacao’s new favorite player.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I think he’s still the biggest one back home.”
Jurrjens (2-2), a rookie acquired by the Braves in an offseason trade that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Detroit, struck out a career-high eight.
“Every outing has been really good and he’s only 22 years old,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s a good one.”
Jurrjens’ fastball was consistently clocked at about 95 miles per hour.
“That’s the hardest he’s thrown since he’s been with us,” Cox said.
Jurrjens said he wasn’t throwing as hard in colder weather. “I didn’t have a really good grip,” he said.
Mark Teixeira was 3-for-4 with a homer and drove in three runs and Kelly Johnson added two hits with a homer.
Atlanta won its fourth in a row overall despite losing third baseman Chipper Jones because of a strained right quadriceps. He originally hurt himself April 9 at Colorado.
Jones, leading the major leagues with his .458 batting average, extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a third-inning single and doubled in the fifth. He left the game in the sixth.
“I just didn’t want to take any more chances than I had to,” Jones said.