Astros
Braves
6 - 7 Final/17
  for this game

Teixeira, Braves outlast Astros in 17 innings

Jul 7, 2008 - 4:09 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Mark Teixeira finally ended a classic extra-innings contest at Turner Field.

Teixeira singled to drive in the game-winning run in the 17th inning and Chipper Jones homered, drove in two runs and scored three times as the Atlanta Braves rallied for a come-from-behind 7-6 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday.

Yunel Escobar keyed a two-out, eighth-inning rally by driving in two runs with a single for Atlanta in the longest game in Turner Field history.

"If we have to work this hard to win one, man, I don't know if we're going to have enough gas in the tank," Jones joked. "Let's enjoy this."

Gregor Blanco ignited the game-winning rally in the 17th with a single up the middle and Escobar followed with a drag bunt single off Houston reliever Tim Byrdak (2-1) to bring up Jones, who loaded the bases with a base hit to right field.

Houston employed a five-man infield to defend against the base hit, bringing in left fielder Carlos Lee to play third base.

It didn't matter.

Teixeira lofted the 1-1 offering over the head of center fielder Michael Bourn, who was playing in left, plating Blanco to end the game five hours and 35 minutes after it began.

"If I hit anything in the air in the outfield, Blanco was going to score with his speed," Teixeira said. "I was looking for something in the zone and to hit anything in the air. It was a big sigh of relief. We have to continue to win if we're going to get back into it. It was a big win."

"It was a matter of seeing who would last the longest and they did," Byrdak said. "You have to go out and make your pitches. The bottom line is that (Teixeira) beat us."

Royce Ring (2-1), who was the last available reliever in the bullpen, retired the side in order in the 17th to record the win in a game that began with a one-hour, 50-minute rain delay and ended 561 pitches later as the clock just passed 9 p.m.

"It was our turn to win an extra-innings game," said Braves manager Bobby Cox of his club, which was 1-7 in extra-innings contests entering this one.

The contest was the longest regular-season game for Atlanta in more than 20 years, when the Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals combined to play a five-hour, 40-minute, 19-inning game on May 14, 1988, and the third-longest game in Atlanta franchise history.

The only Atlanta game to last longer was the legendary 19-inning game between the Braves and the Mets on July 4, 1985, that lasted six hours and 10 minutes.. That rain-soaked contest ended around 4 a.m. and was followed by an ill-advised fireworks show, which startled the residents around the ballpark who thought their neighborhood was under attack.

The Braves' bullpen shut down the Houston offensive attack in this one, holding the Astros scoreless over 11 frames, allowing seven hits, three walks and striking out nine.

"It felt good to get a win," said Atlanta reliever Buddy Carlyle, who pitched three scoreless innings in relief. "Especially in a situation with a four- or five-hour plane ride (to the West coast)."

However, the news wasn't all good for Atlanta. Cox announced after the game that relievers Jeff Bennett (subluxated right shoulder) and Manny Acosta (strained left hamstring) and utility player Omar Infante (strained right hamstring) will all be placed on the disabled list before the club opens up a three-game set in Los Angeles on Monday night.

But for one long day's journey into night, the sun finally shined on the injury-decimated Braves. Atlanta erased a 5-1 deficit and trailed by two runs before tying it in the eighth.

Atlanta put runners at first and second with two outs in the eighth off reliever Doug Brocail before Houston manager Cecil Cooper elected to bring in closer Jose Valverde to record a four-out save.

But Valverde, who had nailed down 20 of his last 21 save opportunities entering Sunday, could not slam the door shut in this one. The 29-year-old closer walked Blanco to load the bases before Escobar tied the game with a two-run single to right field.

Houston had a golden opportunity to tie the contest with runners at second and third in the 15th. But Escobar robbed Ty Wigginton's bid for a game-winning base hit with a sensational driving grab.

"That was Walt Weiss relived," Jones said of Escobar's grab that reminded him of a catch by Weiss in the 1999 National League Division Series against Houston. "It was one of the more incredible plays I've ever seen in my life. That ball was smoked. He went up and caught it with the last inch of his glove."

Acosta followed by issuing an intentional walk to All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada. Fellow All-Star Lance Berkman, who did not start because of an irritated left eye, flew out to left to end the threat.

Atlanta's late heroics overshadowed a career first for Wigginton.

The 30-year-old Wigginton took advantage of a mistake pitch off Atlanta rookie Charlie Morton, depositing the 1-1 offering over the middle of the plate into the left field bleachers for his first career grand slam in the third.

But Jones, who was named to the All-Star team for the sixth time in his career earlier Sunday, kept Atlanta in the game with another sensational offensive day at the plate.

The 36-year-old switch-hitter, who leads the National League with a .388 batting average, staked the Braves to a 1-0 lead by smashing a homer into the left field seats off Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez in the first. He drove in a run with a triple in the fifth and scored in the seventh.

Carlos Lee, who is one of five NL candidates in the final fan vote for the All-Star game, drove in Houston's first run in the third.

Cox was ejected for the 140th time in his managerial career by plate umpire Mike Everitt in the bottom of the fifth inning for arguing a check swing call on Blanco.






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    FINAL 17
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 0 0 5 0 0 1 0 0 0
    ATLANTA 1 0 2 0 0 0 1 2 0
    10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 R H E
    -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- - - -
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 15 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 17 1 (FINAL 17)

    BATTERIES: HOU

    Jul 6 9:01 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK TEIXEIRA SCORED GREGOR BLANCO.
    FINAL SCORE: ATLANTA 7, HOUSTON 6

    Astros 6, Braves 7  Bot 17, 0 OutsJul 6 9:01 PM
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  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY YUNEL ESCOBAR SCORED MARTIN PRADO AND KELLY
    JOHNSON.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, Y ESCOBAR ON FIRST, G BLANCO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 6
    ATLANTA 6 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: C JONES (.388, 2-FOR-3, BB, HR, 2 RBI)

    Astros 6, Braves 6  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 6 6:20 PM
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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MARK TEIXEIRA SCORED CHIPPER JONES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEIXEIRA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 6
    ATLANTA 4 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J PERRY (.111, 0-FOR-2)

    Astros 6, Braves 4  Bot 7, 0 OutsJul 6 5:44 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BRAD AUSMUS SCORED DAVID NEWHAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B AUSMUS ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 6
    ATLANTA 3 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: W RODRIGUEZ (.048, 0-FOR-2)

    Astros 6, Braves 3  Top 6, 0 OutsJul 6 5:06 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK TEIXEIRA SCORED CHIPPER JONES.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M TEIXEIRA ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5
    ATLANTA 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J PERRY (.143, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

    Astros 5, Braves 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsJul 6 4:27 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY CHIPPER JONES SCORED GREGOR BLANCO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C JONES ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5
    ATLANTA 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: M TEIXEIRA (.271, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros 5, Braves 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsJul 6 4:25 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    GRAND SLAM BY TY WIGGINTON (7) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    3RD OFF CHARLIE MORTON SCORED HUNTER PENCE, CARLOS LEE AND DARIN
    ERSTAD.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5, ATLANTA 1
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: D NEWHAN (.294, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros 5, Braves 1  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 6 4:18 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS LEE SCORED MARK LORETTA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C LEE ON FIRST, H PENCE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 1
    ATLANTA 1 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: D ERSTAD (.311, 1-FOR-1)

    Astros 1, Braves 1  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 6 4:13 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CHIPPER JONES (18) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 1ST OFF WANDY RODRIGUEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0, ATLANTA 1
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: M TEIXEIRA (.272, 16 HR, 63 RBI)

    Astros 0, Braves 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 6 3:36 PM