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CHC@ATL: Chipper exits game to a standing ovation

ATLANTA -- Though special, five-hit games are not nearly as rare as those occasions when Chipper Jones finds reason to opine that he might have just experienced one of the best games of his storied career.

When Jones exited Turner Field late Tuesday night, he had experienced a day that he certainly had not expected. Along with being delighted to learn he had secured his eighth All-Star selection, the 40-year-old third baseman also matched a career-best five-hit performance while helping the Braves notch a much-needed 10-3 win over the Cubs.

"Tonight was just one of those dream games," Jones said. "I'd be hard pressed to find another game where I played better."

Jones' eighth-inning single provided him the third five-hit performance of his career and first since victimizing the Astros on Aug. 11, 2002. Without assistance, he remembered Dave Mlicki had started for Houston that day and that Armando Reynoso had started for the D-backs when he had notched his only other five-hit game on April 27, 2001.

"It's happened to me three times in 19 years," Jones said. "They are pretty special when they come along. I am just feeling fortunate that I'm swinging the bat really well right now, when the team needs it."

Jones recorded an RBI single in the first inning, after rain delayed the start of the game for 52 minutes, and added singles in the fourth and eighth innings. He delivered a double in the decisive five-run fifth inning and padded the Braves' lead with a three-run double off Jairo Asencio in a four-run sixth.

"I tried to start stuff when there wasn't anybody on base, and I tried to mop up whenever there were guys on base," said Jones, who also stole his first base of the season in the first inning. "It was just one of those dream games that kind of reinvigorate you a little bit."

After Jones recorded his final hit, he was replaced with a pinch-runner. This provided the iconic figure, who will retire at the end of this year, with the opportunity to exit to a standing ovation and acknowledge a curtain call.

"He responded pretty good. I don't think that swing is ready to retire," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He could go to the American League and DH. There's still a lot left in that swing."

It looked like the Braves were staring at disaster after their defense fell apart during a three-run third inning. In addition, they totaled three hits through the first four innings against Chris Volstad, who had spent the previous six weeks attempting to get right at the Minor League level.

But just when it looked like they might suffer their fourth loss in five games against the Cubs, the Braves awoke during the huge fifth inning that erased some of the frustration that had built while losing four of their previous five games overall.

When Jones learned he would replace injured Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp on the NL roster, he continued to campaign for Michael Bourn to gain an All-Star selection, potentially through the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote ballot presented by Firestone. A few hours later, Bourn highlighted the five-run fifth inning with a go-ahead three-run triple that added to the many valuable contributions he has made this year.

"After that third inning you were thinking, 'Oh my goodness, here we go again.' You could sense the frustration building," Jones said. "Then our MVP [Bourn] up until this point stepped up with a big knock."

After each of the previous two games, Jones said the Braves, at times, resembled the Bad News Bears. This seemed to be the case as the Cubs constructed their three-run third inning. Freddie Freeman was unable to handle David DeJesus' sharp grounder. Dan Uggla's attempt to turn a double play then resulted in an errant throw that allowed DeJesus to score from first base.

After not recording an out on Anthony Rizzo's comebacker, starter Jair Jurrjens then allowed consecutive two-out singles to Bryan LaHair and Steve Clevenger. The Braves were suddenly staring at a 3-1 deficit that stood until they arose from their slumber in the fifth inning.

Brian McCann broke out of an 0-for-14 skid with a single to begin the bottom of the fifth inning, and Andrelton Simmons followed with an infield single. Two batters later, Bourn delivered the triple. Jason Heyward capped the fifth-inning uprising with an opposite-field home run off Volstad, who has not won any of his past 20 Major League starts.

The Braves, who had totaled five runs in the first four games played against the Cubs this year, then padded their lead while drawing six walks in the sixth.

"We fell behind early but started swinging the bats there in the fifth and sixth innings," Jones said. "The game is fun when you do that."

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