KISSIMMEE, FLA. Andruw Jones broke out of a spring training slump, hitting a tie-breaking, two-run homer as part of a 3-for-3 night that carried the Atlanta Braves past the Kansas City Royals, 4-3, Wednesday night.
Jones, who signed a $75 million contract extension in the offseason, came into the game hitting just .148 in 27 at-bats this spring, including eight strikeouts.
But he's been making better contact in recent days and finally got some results against the Royals. He walked in the first inning, followed by two straight singles, then came to bat in the seventh after Jesse Garcia's RBI double tied the game at 2.
Jones hit a 1-2 pitch over the 385-foot sign in left-center against Miguel Asencio (0-1), the first homer of the spring for the Atlanta outfielder.
"I just felt good today for no reason," Jones said. "Sometimes, you just feel better about yourself. You've got to keep positive and keep working hard."
Jones has been coming in early to get extra swings in the batting cage under the tutelage of new batting coach Terry Pendleton.
"It would concern me if he was not working on it," Pendleton said. "But he's here every day, trying to get better. Slowly but surely, he's getting there."
Jones had 34 homers and 104 RBIs last season but hit only .251 Â his lowest average since his first full year in the majors.
"If I hit 30 homers, fine," he said. "I just want to get on base and steal bases this year. The homers will come."
Tom Glavine worked four scoreless innings, allowing five hits and walking one. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third, getting Dave McCarty on a grounder to first.
"I felt like for the first time, my velocity was good," Glavine said. "My location was good. The only mistakes were hits."