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Andruw continues power surge

Andruw goes deep to break up shutout bid

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DETROIT -- Andruw Jones might not have fared well in the Home Run Derby. But before he exited Motown, he made sure to show the baseball world some of that power that has Atlanta buzzing and the Braves right in the thick of the National League East race.

Jones provided a two-run seventh-inning homer and accounted for most of the National League's offense in their 7-5 loss to the American League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

"It just feels good to play in an All-Star Game," Jones said. "I wish we could have won the game and make it better. But they played better than us and hit better than us, and that's why they won the game."

Jones also drew a walk and scored another run courtesy of Luis Gonzalez's ninth-inning RBI double. As for Braves teammate John Smoltz, he allowed a Miguel Tejada second-inning solo homer and, despite allowing just one run in a one-inning stint, was credited with the loss.

"The way I see it, I gave up one and he gave us three," Smoltz said. "So Atlanta finished plus two. That's the way I look at it."

After Jones hit just five home runs and didn't advance to the second round in Monday night's Home Run Derby, he didn't want to make any excuses. But given the chance to redeem himself, Jones didn't wait long. The 1-1 delivery he drilled off Rogers traveled an estimated 420 feet.

"You want to come in here and play good baseball," Jones said. "I had an opportunity to play and have a key hit. I just want to continue to play good baseball and help my team win."

When the Braves resume play on Thursday, Jones' 27 homers will be tied with Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee for the Major League lead. But considering 15 of Jones' homers have come since June 11, there's really not been anybody hotter than the Braves' seven-time Gold Glove outfielder.

His power, combined with the .327 batting average he's compiled in his past 25 games, has allowed the Braves to enter the second half trailing the first-place Nationals by just 2 1/2 games.

All-Star Game 2005

Through his actions, Jones has proven he's committed to continuing to carry his team toward a 14th consecutive division title. Fortunately for him, many of his injured mates are soon going to join him and assist him in the quest.

"Every time I play a game, I want to win," Jones said. "If I'm in the Home Run Derby, I want to win. Whatever I do, I want to win."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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