Braves outlast Phillies in slugfest
Last night was a testament to these Atlanta Braves.
Down 6-0 early to the rival Philadelphia Phillies, the Braves seemingly didn't lose hope, as its fan base began to waver.
But this wasn't just any hole to overcome, they had to do so against one of the games greatest pitchers in Roy Halladay.
Coming into tonights game, Halladay was unbeaten, going an eye-opening 107-0 when spotted a four-run lead.
There was plenty of reason to doubt the Braves ability to mount a comeback, especially with Halladay on the mound and the Phillies winning the last 8 games these two teams have met.
But who would expect that these two teams would combine for 28 runs - a Turner Field record - and 36 hits over the course of 11 innings?
After Tommy Hanson was unable to get out of the 4th inning after spotting the Phillies 4 runs, Cristhan Martinez didn't fare much better, giving up two more before the 5th inning was over.
Maybe it was fate, but Chipper Jones led the bottom of the 5th with a single - the next two batters, Eric Hinske and Tyler Pastornicky followed suit to load the bases.
With one-out, Michael Bourn's RBI single got the Braves on the board, and Martin Prado's infield single plated another, bringing up the heart of the order with the bases still loaded and the score 6-2.
After Freddie Freeman popped out for the second out, Brian McCann took a 2-1 pitch from Halladay 390 feet into the right field bleachers, tying the ballgame at 6 with one swing of the bat and electrifying the crowd at the same time.
Jason Heyward's pinch-hit two-RBI single put the Braves up 8-6, chasing Halladay after 5 1/3 innings.
Consider it strange the Braves bullpen, as dependable as Halladay, was just as unpredictable this night.
Eric O'Flaherty, the Braves 7th-inning man, gave up a three-run homer to Carlos Ruiz on a slider that got too much of the plate, and the Phillies re-took the lead at 9-8.
Ruiz and the Phils weren't done there - he hit a bases-clearing double off Kris Medlen in the top of the 8th to make it 12-8.
But the Braves answered back in the bottom of the 8th, scoring 5 runs with Prado's two-run single tying the game and Freeman's sac fly giving Atlanta a 13-12 lead.
As they did the last game of 2011, the Phillies got to Craig Kimbrel - the Braves closer walked Juan Pierre to lead off the 9th before allowing a game-tying infield single to Shane Victorino that Jack Wilson couldn't track down in time.
The Braves had a great chance to walk-off in the 9th, after Chipper singled with one-out before Heyward's four-pitch walk loaded the bases.
But Bourn was unable to cash in this time, sending the game to extra innings - where a not-so-unlikely hero would do the final damage.
Jonny Venters pitched a perfect 10th, and (believe it or not) Chad Durbin threw a perfect 11th before Dan Uggla led the bottom of the 11th off with a single.
Que Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" - it seems fitting for the ride the Braves have been on so far this season.
After nearly ending the game with a home run on a 2-2 count, Chipper Jones put a charge behind a 3-2 fastball, sending the Braves home with a 15-13 walk-off victory and Turner Field into a frenzy.
Just a week earlier, Chipper had put the finishing touches on the Dodgers bullpen two nights in a row while visiting Los Angeles.
It's still early, and the Braves know the Phillies will be there all season, just like each season before, as a thorn in their side.
But for one night, know that when the cards were stacked against them, the Braves came through.
Led by none other than Chipper Jones.