LOS ANGELES (AP) - Dodgers closer Javy Guerra absorbed his third loss in five appearances after giving up five straight one-out hits to the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning. The second one ricocheted off his face, but he stayed in and faced three more batters.
``That just shows you how tough he is and how much he wants to be out there and compete. And you want a guy like that on your team,' Dodgers first baseman James Loney said after the Dodgers' 4-2 loss Wednesday night. ``He has the mentality of a closer. You just shake off the last bad day and come out ready for the next one.'
Chipper Jones singled home the go-ahead run in his final regular season at-bat at Dodger Stadium, after Dan Uggla tied it with his second RBI single earlier in the ninth. Jason Heyward followed with an RBI single that chased Guerra (1-3).
Incredibly, the crowd booed the 26-year-old right-hander when he returned to the dugout after being relieved by Josh Lindblom - who hit the next batter, Tyler Pastornicky, in the back.
``These are not our fans, but I was a little disappointed that they booed him,' Braves manager Freddy Garcia said of Guerra. ``This guy took one in the face and he tried to stay in there and save the game - and they booed him coming off the field. But you've got to give the guy some credit for some courage there.'
Jonny Venters (2-0) struck out the side in the eighth inning and Craig Kimbrel got the last three outs for his seventh save.
Jones was 1 for 4 and made a couple of fielding gems at third base. He robbed A.J. Ellis of a potential RBI single in the hole with a diving stop and threw him out to end the sixth, then did the same to Dee Gordon to end the game. One night earlier, Jones homered on his 40th birthday.
``It's been a storybook season so far,' Jones said. ``It's been one highlight after another. And, man, I'm savoring each and every one of them because you never know when the last one is going to come. To have revered this ballpark and this organization the way I did as a kid, and to leave it here tonight like this, it's awfully special. I'll remember that inning and that hit and that last play of the game for a long time.'
Jones played 60 games at Chavez Ravine during the regular season, hitting. 241 with 13 homers and 35 RBIs. In two postseason games in 1996, he was 0 for 6 with three strikeouts.
``I was like a school kid out there. I mean, that's what you play the game for - moments like that,' Jones said of the game's final play. ``You don't know how many times I've rehearsed that very moment in my backyard growing up, only I was a Dodger. It's indescribable.'
Jones has played in every big league town except Kansas City, where the All-Star game will be held on July 10. But the seven-time All-Star could get a chance to take a final bow at the Midsummer Classic, the way Carl Yastrzemski and Johnny Bench did in 1983 at Chicago's old Comiskey Park before they retired.
``If it happens, it happens. But I don't want any `pity' All-Star appearance,' Jones said. ``I don't want to take a spot away from anybody else who's more deserving. I've had my All-Star appearances and I've thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. But I'd much rather go out and earn my spot on that team as opposed to being given it.'
Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly outdueled Brandon Beachy through seven innings in a matchup of pitchers who came in with sub-1.00 ERAs and Matt Kemp tied a Dodgers franchise record for April with his 10th home run.
Lilly threw just 79 pitches, allowing a run and three hits. The two-time All-Star, who spent the first two weeks of the season on the disabled list because of a neck strain, was trying to win his first three starts of a season for the first time in his 15-year career. He lowered his ERA to 0.90.
Beachy allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings, raising his ERA from 0.47 to 1.05. The 25-year-old right-hander returned to the site of his first major league victory on April 19, 2011, when he yielded just two hits over six scoreless innings in a 10-1 win.
The score was tied 1-all in the sixth when a brief but steady rain began to fall as Kemp got into the batter's box to lead off the inning. He then drove a 2-2 pitch from Beachy deep into the left-field pavilion to matching the franchise mark for April that Gary Sheffield set in 2000. It was the first homer allowed by Beachy in four starts this year.
NOTES: When White Sox 1B Paul Konerko hit his 400th career home run on Wednesday, he became the third player who began his career with the Dodgers and reached that milestone with another club. The others were Duke Snider (Mets) and Mike Piazza (Padres). ... Tuesday marked the 36th anniversary of the day that Rick Monday of the Chicago Cubs swiped an American flag away from two protesters who were about to set it on fire in the outfield at Dodger Stadium during a game. Monday spent the next eight seasons playing for the Dodgers, and is now in his 19th year as a broadcaster with the team. ... Lilly, who allowed an average of 27 home runs over the previous nine seasons, has not given up one to any of the last 245 batters he's faced during a span of 62 1-3 innings. The last one hit off him was by Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 26, 2011 at Dodger Stadium. The last 11 homers he's given up have been solo shots.
The Associated Press News Service
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