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McCann homers twice to lift Braves over Astros in extras

May 18, 2011 - 7:42 AM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Brian McCann hit a game-tying pinch-hit solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, then clubbed a game-winning two- run shot in the 11th, as the Atlanta Braves earned a 3-1 victory over the Astros to sweep a two-game set at Turner Field.

With the Astros clinging to a 1-0 lead, Mark Melancon entered in the bottom of the ninth and retired the first batter on a sharp grounder. Eric Hinske then flied out to deep right before McCann came off the bench and clubbed a 1-2 curveball that just cleared the left-center field wall to even the score.

Each side had threats turned aside in the 10th and top of the 11th before McCann gave Atlanta the victory in the home 11th. Jeff Fulchino (0-2), in for his second inning of relief, walked Hinske with one out before McCann jumped on a 1-0 changeup and launched it just inside the right-field foul pole.

"I was very pleased today. It doesn't get much better," McCann said. To see (starter) Derek Lowe pitch the way he did and come in and tie it up in the ninth then win it in extras was something special."

His blast made a winner of Cory Gearrin (1-1), who worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam when he got J.R. Towles to ground into a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play in the top of the 11th. It was Gearrin's first major league victory.

Martin Prado went 2-for-5 for the Braves, who have won four straight and five of their last six games overall. Lowe allowed one run and five hits while striking out four in seven innings. He did not issue a walk.

Brett Wallace hit a homer to account for the only offense for Houston, which has dropped three in a row and eight of 10. Wandy Rodriguez got the starting nod and surrendered only five hits and two walks with six strikeouts over eight innings. The left-hander threw 113 pitches -- 68 for strikes.

"It was definitely tough," Wallace said about the loss. "We grinded out the game. We are just trying to do everything we can to get better and get some more wins. That one just slipped away from us. We have to learn from it and move on."

Atlanta left two men on base in the sixth before Houston opened the scoring in the seventh.

After Carlos Lee grounded out, Wallace stepped in and belted a sinker through the wind and into the left-field seats, then had a great opportunity to break the game open in the eighth.

However, with the bases loaded and one away, Lee popped out to shortstop and Wallace went down on strikes to end the threat.

Chipper Jones took a called third strike to strand a runner on first in the home eighth and Jonny Venters threw a perfect top of the ninth before McCann's heroics.

Game Notes

Braves right fielder Jason Heyward returned to the lineup after missing the last six starts because of inflammation in his right shoulder...Jones also returned after sitting out the last two games with a small tear in his right knee...Atlanta won five of six meetings with Houston a year ago...It was McCann's second career pinch-hit homer. The Braves improved to 3-4 in extra- inning games this season, while Houston fell to 1-1...Atlanta finished 5-3 on its eight-game homestand.