The Atlanta Braves battled back from a 3-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning and defeated the Phillies tonight with three late home runs.
Nate McLouth capped the comeback with a walk-off home run into almost-empty right-field seats. The entire Braves team then ran into the locker rooms, almost as if the comeback was planned and the celebration was a set up.
Either way, it was an incredible finish for the first game of the series against the Phillies.
In the 9th Inning, Troy Glaus and Jason Heyward homered to tie the game at 3-3.
Billy Wagner threw 96-mile-per-hour heat at Ryan Howard and struck him out swinging. He also got the win.
Then, McLouth finally hit the ball, and hopefully ignited some confidence into his struggling career.
At 8-5, the Braves are rolling and bring some of their best pitchers up against the Phillies best rotation.
In the first game, neither Kyle Kendrick for the Phillies or Tommy Hanson for the Braves pitched to lose. They played equally well, and Kendrick almost got the win.
The Braves are winning close games, something they did not do quite regularly last year. It was painful to watch all of the one-run losses in 2009.
Martin Prado continues on his torrid pace of batting above .400. He had two hits tonight.
Matt Diaz continued to struggle and McLouth’s feat tonight put Bobby Cox a little more at ease that he does have a potential lead-off man.
Troy Glaus, who is batting just .200, with two home runs, isn’t impressing anyone. Even with his home run tonight, his failure to get any runs in earlier with runners in scoring position put the Braves in the position of coming back to win. Freddie Freeman, the new top prospect for the Braves, has slowly started his Gwinnett assignment.
With the identity crisis the Braves have right now in the search for a lead-off man, McLouth may have won the seat on the merry go round for the rest of this series.
But he has to continue to hit, or there will be more of Melky Cabrera, Diaz and McLouth battling it out for the spot.