ATLANTA -- The Braves pushed across the winning run on Chipper Jones' single in the ninth inning to beat the Giants 5-4 Tuesday night, but manager Bobby Cox was absent from the on-field backslapping.

Cox was ejected in the fifth for arguing balls and strikes -- the 132nd thumbing of his managerial career, breaking a tie with John McGraw for the most by a manager in major league history.

Then there is Giants manager Bruce Bochy. In case you're wondering, Bochy has been ejected 34 times as a manager, four this season. And the last-place Giants have 42 more games to endure.

It's safe to predict Bochy will boil over a few times before everyone packs up the clubhouse. But he didn't argue a play that went against the Giants that was crucial to the Braves' winning rally in the ninth.

And Bochy protected Barry Bonds, claiming that he removed his 43-year-old cleanup hitter from the game in the bottom of the fifth inning because of fatigue -- not because the left fielder loafed after a ball an inning earlier.

Several players privately fumed over Bonds' indifferent play. He barely moved when Brian McCann hit a double to the gap in left-center, forcing Dave Roberts to take a conservative approach instead of a diving effort to cut the ball off.

Asked if he was disappointed by Bonds' effort, Bochy did not give a clear answer.

"He said he thought Roberts had it," Bochy said. "That's why he backed off."

The Giants were playing their fourth game in their third city over a three-day span. Bochy said the schedule affected Bonds, who legged out a potential double-play grounder in the fifth and was replaced in the bottom of the inning.

Bochy said he did not consult with Bonds before replacing him with Rajai Davis. The move appeared punitive, though the manager did not characterize it that way.

"I just decided," Bochy said. "You could tell he was pretty beat. He's been through a lot here. We had the lead (3-0). At that point, we're going with the defense and fresh legs."

Bonds left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed to enter.

Prior to the game, the Braves replayed Hank Aaron's stoic video message on their jumbo screen, then flashed to Bonds who gave a quick wave from his seat in the dugout.

A negative reception was expected in Aaron's hometown, though there were cheers among the boos. Fans tacked up a bedsheet in center field with 758, Bonds' current home run total, followed by an asterisk.

The Giants had to patch together a bullpen game and they opposed Atlanta's John Smoltz, but spot starter Kevin Correia put them in position to win with 4-1/3 scoreless innings. Bochy said he wanted to evaluate Correia, who wants to start next year.

"It's amazing," Correia said. "I almost feel more comfortable as a starter, even after 100-something relief appearances. It came right back."

Ryan Klesko hit a two-run double as the Giants built a 3-0 lead. But Braves No. 8 batter Yunel Escobar had a four-hit night, including a two-run double off Scott Atchison that tied the score in the sixth. Then Atchison hung a first-pitch curve to pinch hitter Matt Diaz, who hit a go-ahead single.

The Giants rallied to tie in the ninth after Dan Ortmeier tripled against Bob Wickman, but Klesko struck out looking to leave the bases loaded.

Jones' game-winner off Randy Messenger came after Steve Kline gave up a walk and Kelly Johnson reached on his sacrifice bunt. Kline's shovel pass to first base was wide and umpire Mark Carlson ruled that Klesko didn't stay on the bag.

"He's out by three (deleted) feet," Kline said. "That's just home field advantage right there."

Bochy didn't argue because he didn't see Klesko raise a ruckus.

"I didn't go ape because the play is still going and I couldn't feel when he hit the bag," Klesko said. "On the replay, he was out. It's a tough play for an umpire and they coerced him into it. The whole dugout, (base coach Glenn) Hubbard, even the runner was saying I came off the bag."

Everyone but Cox, that is.

Contact Andrew Baggarly at abaggarly@mercurynews.com

BRAVES 5, GIANTS 4

  • TODAY: Giants (Russ Ortiz 2-2) at Braves (Tim Hudson 13-5), 4:35 p.m. TV: Chs. 2, 31. Radio: 680-AM