SAN DIEGO -- On one of the most routine plays in baseball, Chipper Jones moved past one of the most extraordinary players in the history of baseball.
Jones' first-inning ground ball to shortstop Wednesday sent Martin Prado home from third, and it changed the game's all-time RBI list for switch-hitters to look like this:
1. Eddie Murray, 1,917.
2. Jones, 1,510.
3. Mantle, 1,509.
One inning later, Jones clobbered a two-run triple to dead center during Atlanta's 7-0 blitzing of San Diego, sending him home from this 10-day trip to the West Coast with 1,512 RBI and some extra text messages from a set of sentimental parents.
When Jones' father taught him to switch-hit as a kid in Florida in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was Mantle's name he usually invoked.
"It's gratifying," Jones, who turned 39 Sunday, said as the Braves dressed to fly home Wednesday. "I look at the numbers as just going out and doing my job."
Jones said he never really paused long enough to consider the history of it all as those numbers were piling up. But now that it's impossible to avoid the height of those piles. ...
"When you grow up hearing about Mantle like I did, the reverence regarding him from my father ... to pass him, it's gratifying," Jones said.
"It's nice to see," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It seems like there's a new milestone every day."
This one, though, comes with an extra lump in the throat for Jones and the Braves.
"The guy's pretty good, from what I hear," pitcher Tim Hudson deadpanned. "He's had an amazing career. I've played with him for going on seven years now.
"When you play with him and see some of the names he's passed, and the names of some of the guys he's going to be passing ... you lose touch with how significant a career he's had because you play with him and he's your teammate, your friend.
"But when you stack him up against everyone, he's going to go down as one of the greats in the history of the game."
Hudson paused, then quipped: "Even though he is a big dork."
That Jones was in the lineup Wednesday was a mild -- albeit pleasant -- surprise for the Braves. Following his season-ending surgery last summer that could have ended his career, and following an intense rehabilitation in which he arrived in spring training ahead of schedule, the Braves figured that at the very least, Jones would not be able to play in day games following night games early in the season.
Yet here he was on a beautiful day in San Diego, not only in the lineup, but advancing on history.
"He came in today saying, 'I'm good,'" said Gonzalez, clearly thrilled.
Jones is hitting .289 with three homers and 21 RBI through 25 games this season.
"Everyone has been saying in the dugout, 'Every other game, they're throwing out a baseball'," he said. "I'm like, 'Guys, we're done for awhile."