ATLANTA (AP) — Late-game dramatics aren’t new to the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves. Getting video assistance, however, is quite different.
Brian McCann and the Braves try to make things somewhat easier on themselves as they open a four-game series against the visiting New York Mets on Monday night.
Atlanta (75-55) leads the majors with 23 wins in its final at-bat.
McCann engineered the latest dramatic finish Sunday, connecting for a walkoff homer to clinch a 7-6 win over Florida. The homer, however, was in dispute after the umpires deemed the ball still in play after it hit a wall and returned to the field. They used video replay to determine it cleared the fence, capping the Braves’ six-run rally over the final two innings to erase a 6-1 deficit.
It was the first time a game ended on a call involving replay.
“I heard it hit the back tin (wall), so I knew that wasn’t the sound of the pads,” said McCann, who had three hits Sunday. “I knew it was a homer. I was telling Tim McClelland, ‘I promise you it’s a homer, I heard it hit the back.’
“There’s not a better feeling. It makes it better being in a playoff race.”
The Braves’ late-inning heroics are a major reason they lead the NL East by two games on second-place Philadelphia.
“Hopefully, that means we’re a team of destiny,” said left fielder Matt Diaz, who hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth Sunday. “If this continues, we’ll either all have heart attacks or make the playoffs.”
Atlanta didn’t need to rally in its most recent meeting with New York (65-65), winning comfortably 8-3 Aug. 4, as McCann went 3 for 5 with a homer and three RBIs. The catcher is hitting .378 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 10 games against the Mets at Turner Field.
The Braves, though, will look to even the season series with the Mets at six games behind Jair Jurrjens (5-4, 4.36 ERA). The right-hander has dominated the Mets in three starts at Turner Field, posting a 0.90 ERA while holding them to a .178 average.
He dropped to 6-2 with a 2.62 ERA in nine lifetime starts against the Mets after yielding three runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 3-1 defeat April 24 at New York.
Jurrjens is also coming off one of his worst performances of the season. He was tagged for seven runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings, but didn’t get a decision in a 12-10 loss at Colorado on Wednesday.
The Mets are trying to move above .500 after winning 5-1 against Houston on Sunday to split a six-game homestand.
They’ll turn to Pat Misch (0-3, 3.50), who gets a fourth chance at his first victory since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on Aug. 14.
The left-hander hasn’t received much help thus far, getting three total runs of support in three starts while the defense has committed five errors. Misch allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings of a 5-4 loss to Florida on Wednesday.
Ending his losing streak against Atlanta may be a tall order.
Misch is 0-2 with a 10.22 ERA in six games – two starts – versus the Braves. He was chased with one out in the second after surrendering eight runs and seven hits – three homers – in his most recent meeting with them, an 11-3 loss Sept. 21.
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