Chipper takes first career four-K game
Sprained toe hinders Braves slugger vs. Big Unit
SAN FRANCISCO -- While participating in some early clubhouse chatter with Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson on Wednesday afternoon, Chipper Jones joined a discussion about four-strikeout games.
Francoeur and Johnson had both encountered the experience and Jones was simply unaware of the fact that he was just a few hours away from enduring his first in a career that has spanned 2,060 games.
Jones joined the golden-sombrero club while striking out four times during the 6-3 loss the Braves suffered against the Giants at AT&T Park on Wednesday afternoon.
"Now I can join the club," said Jones, who had 28 previous three-strikeout performances. "They all shook my hand and welcomed me in."
Instead of blaming a sore big right toe that limited him during his right-handed at-bats against Randy Johnson, Jones instead chose to essentially shrug off the forgettable event.
"When you break it all down, you've gone 0-for-4 many times in your life," Jones said. "It's not that big of a deal. That's why I say you block out the fact that it's strikeouts and chalk it up as an 0-for-4 and move on."
The fact that Jones encountered three of the strikeouts while facing Johnson proved surprising and also provided clear indication that he's still battling discomfort in the right big toe that he sprained against the Rockies last week. The ailment caused him to miss four starts before returning to the lineup Tuesday night.
Jones looked most uncomfortable during the sixth inning, when he took two off-balance swings against Johnson's slider.
"Right-handed it's tough on me right now," Jones said. "I have no back foot and no back side to push off or anything. I'm lunging really bad and I made everything Randy threw tonight three to four miles per hour harder."
Entering Wednesday's game, Jones had hit .394 with six homers and 11 strikeouts in 39 career at-bats against Johnson. Thus the Big Unit wasn't willing to admit he now owns the upper hand against the Braves third baseman, who may one day join him in the Hall of Fame.
"We're still not even," Johnson said after baffling Jones on the way to his 299th career victory.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.