And they did it against a heralded pitcher.
Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward hit homers off Stephen Strasburg and the Braves rallied for a 6-5 win over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
Uggla hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Heyward connected for a bases-empty blast in the fourth.
Strasburg, making his third start, gave up five hits and four runs over four innings, walking two and striking out one. He has a 7.45 ERA this spring.
Top prospect Bryce Harper returned to the Nationals lineup after missing a week with a calf strain and played center field for the first time this spring. He was 0 for 2 with a walk
Chad Tracy and Jesus Flores homered for Washington in the fourth inning off Braves rookie starter Julio Teheran, who allowed six homers against Detroit in his spring debut two starts ago.
Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, hitless in his first 10 at-bats, bounced a single through the infield off left-handed reliever Tom Gorzelanny leading off the fifth.
Jones has been bothered by a sore right knee this spring.
He made a joke earlier this week that he might not be able to make it through the season, and the comment stirred some rumors that he was considering retirement. But Jones has since laid those rumors to rest.
Jones admits saying, “I don’t know if I can make it through this year,” while talking to two national reporters after playing eight innings during Monday afternoon’s loss to the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla.
But he addressed the issue during a phone interview on Tuesday morning, saying that the tone of his message was misunderstood by the reporters.
“Unfortunately, I said it around two guys who don’t know me very well, and they didn’t realize I was kidding around,” Jones said.
“One of the guys asked, ‘You think you can make it through the season with your knees?’ I said, ‘Make it through the season, I don’t know if I can make it through tomorrow.’ Obviously, I’m joking. That’s an obvious joke. Really, I just came off the field after playing eight innings. I’ve had eight at-bats all spring. I was kidding around.
“It was tongue in cheek. I was kidding. I just got done playing eight innings with three at-bats. I was a little tired.
“I wasn’t by any means suggesting I couldn’t make it through the season. If I didn’t think that I could, I wouldn’t be out there.”
One month shy of his 40th birthday, Jones could be in the midst of the final season of his storied career.
But even after battling soreness in his knees and legs during the early weeks of spring training, the Braves third baseman is not ready to put a definitive timetable on the remainder of his career.
“If there was any question about whether I could make it through the season or not, I would not have come back (to play this year),” Jones said.
“I will not only make it through tomorrow, I will make it through this season with no problem.”
Jones blew out the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in the 2010 season and had a torn meniscus repaired via arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in July. Still, he played 126 games last year and returned to Spring Training this year weighing seven pounds less than he had one year earlier.
“I think it is a disservice to Chipper Jones to suggest that after wearing a Braves uniform for 22 years, he is going to abandon his teammates in the middle of a season,” B.B. Abbott, Jones’ agent, said. “Anybody who knows anything about him knows he is not like that.”
While some have suggested Jones has struggled over the past couple of weeks, he believes he is where he needs to be with Opening Day still a little more than three weeks away.
Jones has gone hitless while drawing three walks during the early portion of the Grapefruit League season. After missing five straight days to deal with some soreness in his legs, he played four consecutive days before resting on Tuesday.
“I’m not struggling,” Jones said. “I’ve played four days in a row. How am I struggling? I can’t remember the last time I played four days in a row in Spring Training. I’m struggling? I’m playing fine.
“I’m a little behind now with bat speed. But I barreled a couple balls [Monday], and I’m catching up. Once I get locked in on [95-mph fastballs], everything else will fall in place. Defensively, I’m fine. I am where I need to be at the point in Spring Training.”