Moyer's comments stoke Chipper's fire, rally

Moyer's comments stoke Chipper's fire, rally

Moyer's comments stoke Chipper's fire, rally
DENVER -- Having already erased a six-run deficit against Roy Halladay on Wednesday and a five-run deficit in this same ballpark one night earlier, the Braves did not need any extra assistance after digging themselves an early hole once again.

But vetaran pitcher Jamie Moyer made the mistake of providing some when he accused Chipper Jones of relaying signs with Brian McCann at the plate in the fifth inning of Saturday night's game at Coors Field. The four-run advantage the Rockies held at the time of this incident quickly evaporated over the next few innings.

"That was all on Jamie Moyer," Jones said. "He woke a sleeping giant tonight. He started chirping and it went all downhill from there. He accused me of relaying a sign down 6-2 with a 3-0 count to Brian McCann. I have never relayed a sign to anyone while I'm on second base."

Incensed and motivated by Moyer's accusation, Jones delivered key hits in his next two at-bats and matched his career high with a five-RBI performance while leading the Braves to a 13-9 comeback win over the Rockies.

Moyer did not address this issue while speaking to reporters after the game, and he had exited the clubhouse by the time Jones told what had transpired when they exchanged words during the fifth inning.

"You question our integrity, that's wrong," Jones said. "I've never accused him of doctoring a baseball. I've never accused him of over-milligraming, nothing. That's [garbage] and he woke us up. I didn't see any signs on the 900-foot homers that were hit."

Those monstrous homers were the back-to-back home runs that Matt Diaz and Jason Heyward hit to open the game-tying, five-run sixth inning. Diaz's opposite-field shot hit off the façade of the second deck in right-center field. Heyward's blast sailed to the deepest part of the Braves' bullpen in center field.

Moyer exited before Jones cut Atlanta's deficit to one run with a two-run single in the sixth inning. The 40-year-old third baseman added another two-run, seventh-inning single that proved decisive once Livan Hernandez worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings after a 69-minute rain delay to notch his first save in 485 appearances.

Once Hernandez's last pitch was thrown, Braves starter Mike Minor could forget about the fact that he had spotted the Rockies a 6-0, second-inning lead on the way to allowing a career high in runs (eight) and hits (10) in just five innings.

During each of the three wins the Braves have claimed in their past four games, they have overcome a deficit of at least five runs. This marked the second time during this span that they erased a deficit of at least six runs.

The Braves have totaled 55 hits and 37 runs over their past four games. Included in this span is the three-hit shutout that Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton tossed against them on Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after they had overcome the six-run deficit against Halladay.

"We have a resilient team," Diaz said after notching a season-high three hits. "If you could not tell that after the way we bounced back from [the end of] last year and then the first four games of this year, now you know that we can bounce back in the middle of a game. We prefer not to, but we know that we can if we have to. It's really fun."

Jones spent time after the game laughing about not being able to surpass the five-RBI mark that he has now hit 18 times in his career. But he was visibly upset by the fact he was facing and talking to Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki when Moyer turned his head and yelled, "I see what you are doing?"

This marked the first time the two seasoned veterans have had a confrontation during a game.

"I don't know what the problem was," Jones said. "I was literally having a conversation with the shortstop when he stepped off and said that. I don't know why he's so paranoid. But to be honest with you, every pitch he throws is 78 [mph]. So it's not like we really have to relay signs."

Given a comfortable early advantage with Michael Cuddyer's first-inning grand slam and Carlos Gonzalez's two-run double in the second inning, Moyer was cruising until things started to unfold in the fifth inning. The 49-year-old hurler allowed hits to each of the three batters he faced in the sixth inning. He was charged with six runs -- five earned -- and 10 hits in five-plus innings.

"Solo home runs usually don't beat you, but they just chipped away and they chipped away," Moyer said in reference to the solo homers Diaz and Heyward hit. "I couldn't get an out in the sixth."

The Braves claimed their first lead of the night when Diaz sparked the decisive seventh inning and later scored on the bases-loaded walk Michael Bourn drew against Rex Brothers. Jones followed with the decisive two-run single that gave him his third consecutive three-hit game.

"In this ballpark, you just never know," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You're never out of it."

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