A milestone for Chipper: Hit No. 2,500

A milestone for Chipper: Hit No. 2,500

ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones has reached numerous milestones, and he's on the verge of a few more, but now that his latest one is under his belt, he feels fortunate that he was able to do it on a special evening in front of a supportive home crowd.

Jones notched the 2,500th hit of his storied career with a sixth-inning single off left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo during Friday night's 6-3 win over the Phillies. After he reached first base, he received a loud ovation from a crowd of 51,331 that filled Turner Field for this home opener.

"It was really cool to do it Opening Night here in front of a packed house, instead of in front of 25,000 or 30,000 in midsummer when it doesn't mean all that much," said Jones, who has been with the Braves since they selected him with the first overall pick in the 1990 First-Year Player Draft.

This marked the first time Jones played a home game without Bobby Cox as his manager. But the retired skipper was in attendance, sitting in the fourth row just above the Braves' on-deck circle. And when his longtime third baseman delivered the big hit, he was among those who stood to applaud.

Cox had surprised the fans and some of the players when he took the field wearing his No. 6 jersey and fired the ceremonial first pitch to his successor, Fredi Gonzalez.

"You had to know Bobby Cox was going to be in the house at some point," Jones said. "I didn't know he was throwing out the first pitch until right before. It was just awesome."

Two innings before he reached his milestone, Jones electrified the standing-room-only crowd with what proved to be a game-winning, three-run double off Philadelphia starter Cliff Lee.

Jones is now just three RBIs away from joining Eddie Murray as the only switch-hitters in Major League history to record 2,500 hits and 1,500 RBIs.

The 38-year-old ranks ninth on the all-time hits list for switch-hitters and needs 105 more to reach Tim Raines.

"Being a part of these milestones he's going to be accumulating will be pretty cool," veteran pitcher Tim Hudson said. "I think everybody in here understands how tough it is to play the game that long and put those kinds of numbers up. It definitely says something about his longevity and the great player that he's been."

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