Down six vs. Doc, Braves rally twice, walk off in 11

Down six vs. Doc, Braves rally twice, walk off in 11

Down six vs. Doc, Braves rally twice, walk off in 11
ATLANTA -- What initially seemed destined to be a miserable evening instead proved to be one of the more memorable ones experienced during a storied career that has gradually gotten better as Chipper Jones nears retirement.

Jones had produced seven previous game-ending home runs. But none of them had been hit on a night when the Braves had overcome a six-run deficit against Roy Hallday and then another four-run deficit in the eighth.

Given all of the dramatic twists and turns the previous four hours had generated at Turner Field on Wednesday night, it was only fitting that Jones add to the splendor of the evening by victimizing Brian Sanches with a two-run home run that allowed the Braves to celebrate a 15-13, 11-inning win over the Phillies in walk-off fashion.

"This was the most psychotic game I've ever been a part of," a visibly exhausted Jones said as he attempted to explain how his team had overcome two significant deficits long before he ended the night by drilling Sanches' full count fastball over the right-center-field wall.

"It was just a weird game all the way around," Braves catcher Brian McCann said. "Stuff you never see happened tonight. I've never been a part of a game quite like this before. Tonight was something that you never see."

McCann was positioned to receive most of the glory when he capped a six-run fifth inning with just the fourth grand slam ever surrendered by Halladay. But after gaining a two-run advantage one inning later, the Braves found themselves forced to reclaim the lead with five runs in the eighth.

The resulting one-run advantage proved to be short lived, as Braves closer Craig Kimbrel issued a leadoff walk that allowed Juan Pierre to score on Shane Victorino's two-out infield single in the ninth. All of these dramatics simply set the stage for the Braves' 40-year-old third baseman to fittingly put an end to the evening in celebratory fashion.

Adding to the moment was the fact that this was the 500th home run of Jones' professional career. Just five months away from retirement, he has hit 458 of those at the Major League level.

"It was an emotional rollercoaster all night," Jones said. "For us to fall down 6-0 to Halladay and come back the way we did time and time again after falling down says a lot about this ballclub."

Jones' game-ending home run actually came moments after he thought he had hit one. Two pitches before the decisive blast, he had hit a long drive that hooked just before hitting the right-field foul pole.

"It's unbelievable to finish a game like that," said Braves rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, who contributed the second three-hit game of his young career. "That's what you dream of when you're a kid to be a part of. It's unbelievable. That's the best game I've ever been a part of in my life."

The Phillies had won eight straight games in this rivalry, and 18 of their previous 25 games against the Braves. But this did not seem to weigh on McCann and his teammates when Halladay gained the early six-run lead. Nor was there any quit when Jason Heyward's go-ahead sixth-inning single provided a lead that was squandered when Carlos Ruiz hit a three-run home run off Eric O'Flaherty in the seventh inning.

Again the Braves did not blink when Ruiz added a three-run, eighth-inning double off Kris Medlen. They simply came back in the bottom half of the inning and scored five with assistance from Martin Prado's two-run single and Freddie Freeman's go-ahead sacrifice fly.

"We did a great job," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We could have very easily just said, 'That is Doc Halladay on the mound and we'll take it out on them tomorrow.' But we didn't do that. That's why I'm so proud of that club out there."

Halladay was charged with eight earned runs and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings. This marked the fifth time in his career that he allowed at least eight runs and the first since allowing nine earned runs against the Rangers on May 5, 2007. The Braves had totaled nine runs in the only other six games the two-time Cy Young Award winner had started against them.

Halladay had retired 10 of the previous 11 batters he had faced before the Braves started the fifth inning with three consecutive singles. Michael Bourn and Prado got into the act with consecutive RBI singles to cut the deficit to four and keep the bases loaded for the middle of the lineup.

After Freeman hit a weak pop fly, McCann drilled a 2-1 cutter deep into the left-field seats to account for the game-tying grand slam that created a euphoric reaction from the Braves' dugout. Bourn poked him in the eye during the celebration. But the All-Star catcher said he was fine after the game.

"It was funny, because you're like surely Roy Halladay isn't going to give up a grand slam," Braves outfielder Matt Diaz said. "But in the back of your mind, you're like, 'Well, Mac is definitely going to hit a grand slam here.'"

McCann's eighth career grand slam created the momentum that increased when Heyward came off the bench to chase Halladay with a go-ahead, two-run single in the sixth inning.

By the end of the evening, the contributions made by McCann and Heyward were footnotes. Fortunately for Tommy Hanson, so too was his disappointing outing. Hanson allowed four runs during a 40-pitch third inning that included Laynce Nix's three-run double.

"You can't pinpoint and say this is where we won the game or this is where we lost the game," Gonzalez said. "We lost it twice and won it like three times."

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