SAN DIEGO — As a boy growing up, Larry Wayne Jones Sr. was such a fan of Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle that he later decided he would teach his own son to switch-hit.
Chipper Jones learned well.
With a run-scoring groundout in the first inning of a 7-0 win against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday afternoon, the Braves third baseman moved past Mantle into sole possession of second place on the career RBIs list for switch-hitters. He added a two-run triple in the second.
Jones, who turned 39 on Sunday, has 1,512 RBIs — second to Eddie Murray’s 1,917 among switch-hitters. Mantle had 1,509. He pulled even with Mantle late Tuesday with a two-run homer in the first inning of an 8-2 win at San Diego.
“It always feels good tying Mick,” Jones said after that game. “I just finally ran into one. Got into a predictable count [1-and-0] and got us off on the right foot.”
It was the third home run this season and 439th of his career for Jones, who is third on the switch-hitters’ homer list behind Mantle (536) and Murray (504).
After passing Larry Sr.’s boyhood idol Wednesday, Jones was asked if he would call his dad to let him know.
“He texted me last night and texted me today, so I don’t even have to,” he said, smiling. “I grew up in the shadow of Mickey Mantle my whole youth. I could sense that he and mom were welling up last night when I tied him, so I can imagine what it was like today.”
Jones moved into a tie with Carlos Delgado for 49th on the overall RBIs list with 1,512.
Jurrjens goes the distance
Jair Jurrjens had made only one start at San Diego before Tuesday, and it was the worst of his career: eight runs, eight hits allowed in 3 1/3 innings April 12, 2008.
A year and two weeks later, he pitched his first complete game and the first nine-inning complete game by any Braves pitcher since 2009.
He sailed through five innings in only 45 pitches and finished with 81 strikes in 114 pitches. He allowed two runs, eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
“I’m just having fun,” said Jurrjens (2-0), who has a 1.23 ERA in three starts since returning from a season-opening stint on the disabled list for a strained oblique.
He was limited to 20 starts in 2010 by a string of injuries that began with a shoulder strain before spring training and ended with torn knee cartilage that kept him out of the playoffs. Now, he’s finally healthy and throwing hard.
“I think by missing [time] last year, being able to play again, I’m like a little kid out there just trying to have fun and throw strikes,” he said.