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MIL@ATL: Chipper connects on a three-run shot

ATLANTA -- One week after getting swept to open the season, the suddenly surging Braves celebrated their first sweep and saw Chipper Jones make his own home opener a memorable one.

Jones' three-run home run in the third inning gave Brandon Beachy all the support he needed during his seven-inning effort that allowed the Braves to complete a three-game sweep with a 7-4 win over the Brewers at Turner Field on Sunday afternoon.

"It's just huge seeing [Jones] out there and having him out there on the field, regardless of what he does," Beachy said. "Just him being out there really helps us."

Since activating Jones from the disabled list on Tuesday, the Braves have won five straight games and essentially erased the frustration created by their first 0-4 start since 1988. This was their first series sweep since taking three straight from the D-backs on Aug. 19-21 of last season. Their most recent five-game winning streak had occurred Aug. 18-22.

"It's good baseball right now," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "The other day I said we were not pretty to watch. We're pretty good looking to watch now."

Down the hallway in the visitors' clubhouse, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was lamenting his club's fourth straight loss and sounding much like Gonzalez had before Jones was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday. "If we play like this, we're going to get beat everywhere," said Roenicke, who has seen his club lose each of the seven games it has played in Atlanta since the start of the 2011 season.

Having undergone surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee on March 26, Jones was just a bystander during the season's first four games. After helping the Braves record wins against the Astros on Tuesday and Wednesday, he missed the first two games of this series because too much fluid had formed around his surgically repaired left knee.

Jones expressed genuine disappointment when he could not play on Friday in what was officially his final home opener. But after resting during the first two games of this series, the veteran third baseman returned for the finale and made his presence know with his home run off Brewers left-hander Chris Narveson.

Adding to the significance of Jones' home run was the fact that it was hit during his first official at-bat of his first home game of the final season of his career. The iconic player, who will retire at end of this season, walked just ahead of the Brian McCann sacrifice fly that gave Beachy a first-inning lead he would not squander.

"This was my first game back at home," Jones said. "The knee didn't allow me to play the first two games. It did today, and you want to make a splash. It was a pretty cool moment."

As he nears his retirement, Jones is already providing indication that this could be a special season. This home run came after two days of inactivity. His first homer of the season came during his second at-bat on Tuesday, when he was two weeks removed from surgery and two weeks shy of his 40th birthday .

"I know people don't like to see me out of the lineup," Jones said. "But if I come back like this, maybe I should take every other day off. I don't think Fredi would like that too much."

Following the lead of Mike Minor, who had frustrated the Brewers on Saturday night, Beachy limited Milwaukee to one unearned run and three hits over seven innings. The 25-year-old right-hander recorded six strikeouts and proved efficient after throwing 57 pitches through the first three innings. He needed just 46 pitches to complete his final four innings.

The Brewers' lone run off Beachy came after Martin Prado lost Aramis Ramirez's fly ball in the sun to start the second inning. Beachy retired the next two batters he faced before Ramirez scored on Jonathan Lucroy's two-out single.

"I thought he did a nice job after [Prado's error] of minimizing damage and just pounding the strike zone," Gonzalez said. "He ended up going seven innings with [103 pitches]. That, for me, is a big step forward, because he's been struggling to go five with 100 pitches."

This marked just the third time in 30 career starts that Beachy has lasted at least seven innings. Before Minor carried a shutout bid into Saturday's eighth inning, the Braves had not had a starting pitcher record an out in the sixth inning this year.

"[Pitching to contact] is going to help me get to the seventh and eighth inning, having a few quick innings," Beachy said. "I was able to do that, and that comes from getting ahead in the count and throwing the ball over the plate and putting them in a defensive mode from pitch one of the at-bat, where they feel like they have to swing before they get to two strikes."

Beachy received a little more cushion when Jason Heyward drilled a one-out homer in the fourth inning that stayed just inside the right-field foul pole and landed in the first row of the terrace level seats. The rejuvenated 22-year-old right fielder has seven hits, including two homers, in his past 14 at-bats.

"Off the bat, I knew it was far enough and I was just hoping it stayed fair," Heyward said. "I didn't even see it land."

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