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Astros Vs. Braves: Brian McCann Ends Homestand In Thrilling Fashion With Tying, Winning Homers For 3-1 Atlanta Win

Tuesday, May 17
(15-27) Houston Astros - 1
(25-19) Atlanta Braves - 3

MLB.com Box Score
FanGraphs Box Score

Brian McCann had a decent game considering it was an off day for him. He entered the ninth inning and tied the game on a home run, then followed that with a walk-off home run in the 11th for a 3-1 Braves win.

Game Log:
Both teams scattered hits through the first six innings with no significant at-bats. Clint Barmes doubled with two outs in the second and was stranded. Both teams traded double plays in the fourth. The Braves had two on with two outs in the sixth but both were stranded.

Brett Wallace changed things in the seventh with a solo homer off Derek Lowe for a 1-0 Houston lead, worth .216 WPA.

Nothing changed through 8.2 innings, as the Astros led 1-0. However, McCann entered as a pinch hitter for David Ross with two outs in the ninth and hit a solo home run off Mark Melancon to tie the game at one, worth .489 WPA, the biggest swing in the game.

A leadoff walk by Nate McLouth in the 10th seemed to get things going for the Braves, and he was moved to second on a bunt by Brooks Conrad. But Martin Prado flew out, worth -.089 WPA, and after Jason Heyward walked, Chipper Jones struck out, worth -.109 WPA.

The Astros did worse in the 11th off Cory Gearrin. A single, stolen base and walk put two on with no outs. Matt Downs struck out for the first out, worth -.117 WPA. Barmes walked to load the bases with one out, worth .136 WPA, but J.R. Towles grounded into an inning-ending double play, worth -.350 WPA.

In the bottom of the 11th against Jeff Fulchino, the Braves put a runner on via a walk, and McCann hit a liner that wrapped around the foul pole for a walk-off, two-run homer, worth .369 WPA.

The Focus:
Lost in the McCann home run show was an excellent pitcher's duel between Lowe and Wandy Rodriguez. Lowe allowed one run on five hits in seven innings, not walking any and striking out four. His lone mistake was the home run to Wallace in his final inning, and the only other hard hit ball was the double by Barmes. Lowe induced 12 ground balls to five fly balls, making it a double digit ground ball total for the third time in his last four starts after going three straight outings without reaching the double digit mark.

Stat of the Day:
The Astros have blown 11 saves this season.

The Game Changer:
McCann's home run with two outs in the ninth tied the game at one, worth .489 WPA.

WPA Winners:
(ATL) Brian McCann: .858
(HOU) Wandy Rodriguez: .592
(ATL) Derek Lowe: .201

WPA Losers:
(HOU) J.R. Towles: -.428
(HOU) Mark Melancon: -.307
(HOU) Jeff Fulchino: -.234

Key Lines:
(ATL) Brian McCann: 2-2, 2 HR, 3 RBI, .858 WPA
(ATL) Derek Lowe: 7 IP, 5 H, ER, 0 BB, 4 K, .201 WPA (12 GB, 5 FB)
(ATL) Jason Heyward: 1-3, 2 BB, .013 WPA

(HOU) Wandy Rodriguez: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, .592 WPA (11 GB, 7 FB)
(HOU) Brett Wallace: 1-4, HR, RBI, BB, .090 WPA
(HOU) Mark Melancon/Jeff Fulchino: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, -.541 WPA, BS, L

Looking Ahead:
The Braves hit the road for two games against the Diamondbacks, beginning with a 9:40 start on Wednesday. Julio Teheran makes his second career start against the winless Joe Saunders.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Astros fans check out Crawfish Boxes.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.