Jones atoned for a run-scoring error that tied the game at 3 in the fourth inning by cutting down the potential tying run at the plate in the seventh, and the Braves held on to end the Yankees’ 10-game winning streak with a 4-3 victory Tuesday night.
“Sometimes you’re going to whiff on some balls,” the All-Star third baseman said. “But you’ve got to have a hockey goalie mentality down there. You’ve got to flush it or you’re going to get the next one down your throat.”
The Yankees were trying to match their longest winning string in nearly a half-century. Instead, the Braves threw out two runners at home and won for only the second time in nine games – their skid included four losses to the Yankees.
“They pitched really well and had some really good defense. That’s kind of what we’ve been doing,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Jason Heyward singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning off Hiroki Kuroda (6-7). Heyward also tripled and scored, and nailed Mark Teixeira at home with a strong throw from right field.
“We wouldn’t have gotten there if it wasn’t for Jason Heyward,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Rookie Andrelton Simmons drove in two runs, and Jones delivered an RBI double for the slumping Braves.
Down by a run, the Yankees threatened in the seventh. Curtis Granderson opened with a single off Jonny Venters, Alex Rodriguez walked and the runners moved up on a groundout. Teixeira followed with a sharp grounder and Granderson broke home, but Jones made a strong throw and catcher Brian McCann applied the tag. Raul Ibañez then struck out.
“You play third base, you know you’re going to have the lowest-fielding percentage in the infield,” Jones said. “You get some rockets, some balls with topspin. The big thing on that play was the pick. Once I picked it, I could make the throw and Mac set a nice target.”