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Braves hoping for home cooking
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ATLANTA — Chipper Jones can't think of a better time for the Atlanta Braves to rediscover their home run swing at Turner Field.
The 1999 National League MVP, whose 411 homers rank No. 3 on the career list of switch hitters, is ready to end a power outage when Atlanta begins a 12-game homestand tonight.

Coming off an eight-game road trip that included series wins over NL East rivals New York, Philadelphia and Florida, Jones says the Braves, who improved to 17-17 overall, need to stay aggressive but smart at the plate.

"I want to have the same intensity that we've had for the last eight days when we go back home," Jones said. "Up until this point, it's been kind of a different team that has played at home."

There are several reasons for Atlanta's .357 home winning percentage — the major league's worst. The Braves have lost nine of 11 at Turner Field partly because three starting pitchers — Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez and Kenshin Kawakami — are a combined 2-5 with a 5.15 ERA in nine starts.

Closer Mike Gonzalez has one of the bullpen's two blown saves, and second baseman Kelly Johnson is mired in a 4-for-39 slump at Turner Field.

Jones, who won the NL batting title last year and finished second in 2007, believes much of the blame falls on himself and the three batters who usually make up the Nos. 3-5 spots in the lineup.

Though he could take some satisfaction in 13 walks that boosted his on-base percentage to .396 at Turner Field, Jones is concerned that he's combined with Brian McCann, Casey Kotchman and Garret Anderson for a .241 batting average, one homer and eight RBIs at home.

Even more disturbing is Atlanta's meager five home runs at Turner Field, also worst in the majors at home.

"We've been kind of relaxed and had the kind of sit-back-and-wait mentality," he said. "Here (on the road) it's an us-against-the-world mentality and we're all together and we're all in the game. We need to take that intensity to Atlanta."

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