Braves edge Tigers

Associated Press
Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann, right, gets a high five from on-deck batter Craig Wilson after McCann hit a solo home run in the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Sunday, March 18, 2007. The Braves won 4-3.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - No Chipper, no Andruw. So the Atlanta Braves found another Jones to provide the power and back five scoreless innings from Tim Hudson.


Brandon Jones hit a two-run homer and Brian McCann added a long shot over the right-field bullpen to lead Atlanta past the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in a split-squad game Sunday.

Chipper Jones missed his third straight game with a sore muscle on his right side and Andruw Jones was a late scratch with an ailing right shoulder. Andruw Jones probably will play Monday, manager Bobby Cox said.

Hudson walked one and gave up three hits. He struck out three, but wasn't satisfied.

The right-hander said he fought to keep his pitches down in the second inning when he gave up a single to Sean Casey and a long fly ball to Mike Hessman that Brandon Jones tracked down in deep right field.

Hudson called his brief struggles "a little bit of a debacle" but was pleased that he made a quick adjustment.

"When my back side drops, my back shoulder drops with it," he said.

As a result, Hudson said, his pitches tend to rise.

"It's just a small little change that would be tough to see, but I feel it big-time," he said. "When I stay tall up over the rubber, my arm gets up good."

In his last two outings, Hudson has given up two runs in nine innings. He has a 1.80 ERA through four spring training games as he attempts to bounce back from his disappointing 2006 season, when he was 13-12 with a career-worst 4.86 ERA.

Hudson said he feels stronger after an increased emphasis on offseason weight training.

"I feel strength-wise I could have gone longer," he said. "It's just the fine-tuning shape I need to get in."

Brandon Jones started in right field and hit a second-inning double off Zach Miner before hitting the homer off Chad Durbin in the sixth.

"He's one of our very top hitters in the minors," Cox said. "He proved that today."

The 23-year-old Jones hit a combined 14 homers at Class-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Mississippi last season. Carolina League managers voted Jones the league's top power prospect, but he is thought to be at least a year from competing for a major league roster spot.

Martin Prado, starting at third base for Chipper Jones, also had two hits for the second consecutive day.

Miner, traded from Atlanta to Detroit as part of the 2005 deal that sent Kyle Farnsworth to the Braves, gave up five hits and two runs in three innings. He had three strikeouts and no walks.

Braves reliever Oscar Villarreal allowed five hits and two runs in two innings. Peter Moylan gave up a ninth-inning run. He walked Timo Perez and Ramon Santiago before yielding a run-scoring single to Nick McIntyre. Brandon Watson hit into a double play to end the game.

Notes: Craig Wilson started at first base for Atlanta and threw out Santiago at the plate in the seventh inning. Wilson was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.... Atlanta's other split squad beat Cincinnati 6-5 in Sarasota. The Braves won two games Sunday after going 0-5-1 in their previous six.



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