WASHINGTON (AP) – Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones hit consecutive homers off Washington closer Chad Cordero with two outs in the ninth inning Sunday, rallying the Atlanta Braves to a 9-7 victory over the Nationals.

Chipper Jones’ two-run shot off Cordero (2-4) erased a 7-6 deficit for Atlanta – which led 6-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth before Washington scored five times.

Andruw Jones followed with his second homer of the game and 49th of the season, on an 0-2 pitch. He’s homered in three straight games to race past the franchise record of 47 homers shared by Hall of Famers Hank Aaron (1971) and Eddie Mathews (1953).

Macay McBride (1-0) earned his first major league victory. He faced one batter, striking out Brian Schneider to end the eighth. Kyle Farnsworth got his sixth save.

Until Jones and Jones brought Atlanta back, it looked as if Washington might actually win a game on an afternoon they trailed by six runs, needed eight pitchers, and had four rookies in the starting lineup.

Washington rallied in the eighth after John Smoltz was removed despite throwing only 74 pitches.

Smoltz hadn’t had to work too hard against an order that included a player making his first major league start (second baseman Rick Short), another making his second (third baseman Ryan Zimmerman) and rookie outfielder Ryan Church.

Yet Braves manager Bobby Cox lifted Smoltz after he gave up three hits and two runs over seven innings. And the rookies were right in the middle of it all for Washington in the eighth.

With the Braves ahead 6-2, Blaine Boyer relieved to begin the eighth and promptly walked the first two batters. John Foster came on and gave up Brad Wilkerson’s RBI single, then hit Short with a pitch that bounced in the dirt first.

That loaded the bases with none out for Nick Johnson, who hit a hard shot that bounced off the side of first baseman Adam LaRoche’s head for a two-run single to get Washington within a run. LaRoche left the game.

That was it, too, for Foster, who was replaced by Chris Reitsma. Jose Guillen flied out to deep center, which allowed Short to reach third. Church then hit a sacrifice fly to left, which brought home Short and got Johnson – out of the starting lineup for a week because of a bruised right heel – to second.

Zimmerman, the No. 4 overall pick in June’s amateur draft, then came up and delivered, lining a 1-2 pitch over the shortstop’s head to score a hobbling Johnson with the go-ahead run. In came McBride to end the inning.

Smoltz allowed back-to-back homers by Short and Johnson in the sixth, and Zimmerman’s ground-rule double in the second.

After the homers, Smoltz set down his final four hitters. He had one walk and five strikeouts, giving him 2,556 Ks for his career to tie Jerry Koosman for 24th place in baseball history.

The Braves built their 6-0 lead against a patchwork starter-by-committee operation. First on the mound was rookie Jason Bergmann, making his first major league start, and he gave up two runs in the first.

Andruw Jones made it 3-0 in the third with his 48th homer, off Travis Hughes.

Notes: Atlanta improved to a season-best 23 games over .500. … Braves SS Rafael Furcal stole his 40th base in the second inning. It’s his first year with that many since 2000, when he was a rookie – and just the seventh time in club history a player reached that number. … Short’s homer was his second in the majors. The other came off Marlins LHP Dontrelle Willis on Wednesday. Short, 32, had played his entire career in the minors until this year. … Guillen argued a called strike with umpire Fieldin Culbreth in the sixth until third-base coach Dave Huppert intervened. Smoltz struck out Guillen on the next pitch.

AP-ES-09-11-05 1619EDT


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