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Brian McCann ties it, wins it with home runs

May 17, 2011, 4:30 PM EDT

Houston Astros v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

What a day for Brian McCann.

On an afternoon when neither the Braves nor the Astros seemed too enthused about scoring runs, McCann took the game into his own hands, hitting a solo shot with two out in the bottom of the ninth to send it into extra innings and then, a few minutes ago, hitting a two-run bomb in the bottom of the 11th to give the Braves a 3-1 win and mini-sweep of Houston in the two-game series. Best part, I neglected to add when this post first went up:  he didn’t even start. Came in as a pinch hitter for that first dinger.

The homers were particularly satisfying given that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had his players attempt something on the order of 125 bunts in this game. Indeed, Fredi is so enamored with giving the Braves two-out innings that I’m convinced that he grew up dreaming of hitting World Series-winning bunts when he was a kid.

Bunts make managers feel smart. Homers win ballgames.  Brian McCann knows that, and today he showed why he’s the best hitting catcher in the game.

  1. xmatt0926x - May 17, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Braves are in one of those streaks where they are getting all the key 2 out hits, the 9th inning tying runs. It won’t last forever but while it does I will not be pleased.

    • rebarratige - May 17, 2011 at 5:50 PM

      Not to be a stickler for literalism or anything, but this is the first time in May that the Braves have tied a game in the 9th inning. Possibly longer, but I didn’t bother to go through all the boxscores for April.

  2. cooptroop08 - May 17, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    Big time stuff from McCann. What I found most impressive was that he didn’t even start this game. Came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth and hit a solo shot with 2 outs to tie the game. Then, stayed in to catch and hit the 2 run game winner in the 11th. Very impressive.

    • atlsp - May 17, 2011 at 4:54 PM

      Yeah Craig, don’t you think it was worth mentioning that he PH in the 9th? I now task you (or anyone else, really) with finding out the last time somebody tied a game with a PH HR in the 9th and then won it with a HR in their next AB.

      • Brian Murphy - May 17, 2011 at 7:07 PM

        It has never happened before. Twenty-eight players have hit multiple home runs after entering as a pinch hitter. Thirteen of those players did it in their only two plate appearances.
        But today, Brian McCann became the first player to hit a game-tying and a game-winning homer in his only two plate appearances.

      • Brian Murphy - May 17, 2011 at 7:59 PM

        I should qualify that the game-winning HR must be of the walk-off quality.

  3. rebarratige - May 17, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Right now, one half of the Astro’s pitching staff (including one starting pitcher and six relievers) is performing at or below replacement level. Altogether those pitchers have cost the Astros 2.9 wins above replacement. And the season is only one-quarter over. Wowza.

  4. uuddlrlrbastart - May 17, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    How did they win without sacrifice bunts? How?!

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