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Braves 6, Dodgers 1: Jurrjens sharp; Braves sweep

POSTED: May 2, 2008 5:01 a.m.
The Associated Press/

Atlanta Braves starter Jair Jurrjens works in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday in Atlanta. Atlanta won 6-1.

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ATLANTA — 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."

Dodgers manager Joe Torre agreed.

"He’s pretty impressive," Torre said of Jurrjens. "He locates well, and he has such command of his changeup."

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.

The Braves gave up a total of only three runs in defeating the Dodgers three times. Atlanta’s last sweep over Los Angeles came in a three-game set in April 2000.

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.

"It was knotting up on me just standing around today. I woke up sore and just didn’t get loose. It didn’t get any better. The double certainly didn’t help."

Cox said Jones is questionable for today’s game against Washington but said the injury is "nothing that’s going to have him out any length at all."

Russell Martin homered off Jurrjens in the fourth inning for the Dodgers’ only run.

The Braves led 2-1 before scoring four times in the eighth off reliever Scott Proctor.

Johnson doubled with one out and Martin Prado tripled. After Teixeira’s two-run homer, Jeff Francoeur hit his second double of the game and scored on Mark Kotsay’s single.

Johnson homered in the fifth off Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda (1-2). Kuroda gave up seven hits with four walks in six innings but allowed only two runs.

"He pitched well enough to win," Torre said. "He gave us a chance to win."

Los Angeles hitters were only 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position in the series.

"We have to find a way to exhale," Torre said. "We feel a lot of tenseness. We have to start swinging the bats. ... It’s frustrating. Everybody feels the heat."

James Loney was 0-for-12 with five strikeouts in the series.

Andruw Jones finished his 0-for-4 day by hitting a weak one-out grounder to shortstop Yunel Escobar with Juan Pierre on third base. Pierre, who stole second and third base after his leadoff single, had to hold at third on the groundout and was left at third when Martin ended the inning with a grounder to Escobar.

Kuroda left the bases loaded in the sixth when right fielder Andre Ethier ended the inning with a leaping catch of Prado’s drive to right-center. Ethier, running to his right, made the catch a few feet in front of the warning track.

"It came at an important time," Ethier said. "That added more value to it."Notes: The Dodgers did not have a double for the first time this season. ... Atlanta’s bullpen gave up only one run in 10 2-3 innings in the series.



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