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Atlanta at San Francisco

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Atlanta (1-1) «000001030015110
San Francisco (1-1)310000000004102

Ankiel's first playoff HR powers Braves in 11th

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Rick Ankiel has a postseason memory he can celebrate. His clutch hit gave the Atlanta Braves yet another comeback victory in a season full of them.

Ankiel splashed a home run into McCovey Cove in the 11th inning for his first postseason clout and Atlanta rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Friday night, tying their NL division series at one game apiece.

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The Braves pulled this one out with manager Bobby Cox watching the final nine innings from the clubhouse after his third career postseason ejection. The skipper told his team a victory in Game 2 would swing the momentum to the Braves as they headed home to Turner Field.

"The biggest homer of my career by far," Ankiel said. "To be honest with you, I wanted to go from the batter's box to the dugout and be with the guys and not run the bases. What a cool thing to do and what a cool way to win."

Kyle Farnsworth pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings for the victory, relieving in the 10th after closer Billy Wagner got hurt. Farnsworth escaped a bases-loaded jam when Buster Posey grounded into an inning-ending double play that was started by third baseman Troy Glaus.

Before his home run, Ankiel had been best known in the playoffs for his meltdown against Atlanta in 2000 while pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals.

That year, Ankiel started Game 1 of the NL division series but had major control problems and wound up walking six with five wild pitches in 2 2/3 innings. In Game 2 of the NLCS, he didn't even make it out of the first inning, walking three and throwing two more wild pitches while retiring only two batters.

The issues with his command eventually persuaded the once-promising lefty to switch positions and become an outfielder. He struck out in his only two postseason at-bats last year for St. Louis.

"It's been a long, fun journey and I appreciate everything that's happened," Ankiel said.

Farnsworth and Ankiel came to the Braves at the trade deadline from Kansas City.

"The two guys we got in the trade won us the game tonight," catcher Brian McCann said. "This was the best win I've ever been a part of. You don't want to be down 0-2 in a best-of-five series. That was huge. I'm in awe of what we just did."

Atlanta earned 46 come-from-behind victories this season and did it again when it mattered most. This is the only first-round playoff series that is even after two games.

"It just seems like our resiliency has paid off for us all season and it's been fun to be a part of," Ankiel said.

Alex Gonzalez hit a tying, two-run double in the eighth against Giants closer Brian Wilson, who led the majors with 48 saves this season.

Ankiel's drive on a 2-2 pitch from Ramon Ramirez was just the second splash homer in the postseason at 11-year-old AT&T Park. Home run king Barry Bonds hit the other one on Oct. 10, 2002, in Game 2 of the NL championship series against St. Louis.

Posey grounded into 5-4-3 double play in the 10th, keeping the score tied at 4.

Wagner, who plans to retire after the season, first grabbed at his left side after chasing pinch-hitter Edgar Renteria's bunt single to start the inning. The left-hander then fielded Andres Torres' sacrifice bunt back to the mound, threw to first for the out and immediately grabbed at the area near his left hip before crumbling to his knees.

The 39-year-old Wagner walked slowly off the field with a trainer and was replaced by Farnsworth, who was given all the time he needed to warm up.

"I don't know how I'll feel tomorrow. I know it's pretty sore now," Wagner said.

Farnsworth hit Freddy Sanchez in the right hand on his third pitch. Sanchez went down writhing in pain and was quickly examined, but went to first base.

Wilson entered with runners at the corners and none out in the eighth after Sergio Romo gave up back-to-back singles to Derrek Lee and McCann.

Melky Cabrera hit a slow roller toward third that scored Atlanta's second run. Pablo Sandoval's throw to first pulled Aubrey Huff off the bag for an error, but Cabrera looked as though he would have beaten the throw anyway.

Gonzalez tied it two batters later with a double to left-center.

Wilson was trying for his first career six-out save. He pitched two innings twice during the regular season.

"When I'm called upon, I enjoy being the stopper. When the skipper asks me to come out, regardless of the situation, I feel like I should be able to get out of it," Wilson said. "It's already past me. The game's over. I can't really focus on that."

Atlanta's rally spoiled a strong postseason debut by Giants starter Matt Cain a day after Tim Lincecum's 14-strikeout, two-hit gem in a 1-0 victory. Pat Burrell hit a three-run homer in the first inning to stake San Francisco to a quick cushion.

Burrell connected on the first pitch from Tommy Hanson with two outs in the first, sending the pompom-waving sellout crowd of 44,046 into a frenzy of orange. The attendance was the largest in the history of AT&T Park, topping the total from the 2007 All-Star game.

But Ankiel's shot silenced the ballpark, and he was pelted with a celebratory cream pie after the game.

"It's a tough loss, no getting around it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You have to bounce back. They fought hard. We had a couple of chances to add on, but their 'pen shut us down."

The Braves, back in the playoffs for the first time since 2005, had a major league-leading 25 wins in their final at-bat this year.

The teams have Saturday off for travel. Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez goes in Game 3 for the Giants against righty Tim Hudson. Both pitched their teams to victory and playoff berths on the final day of the regular season.

McCann's RBI single in the sixth snapped a 24-inning postseason scoreless stretch by the Braves dating to their last trip to the playoffs.

The Giants hadn't allowed a run in 28 innings since the fourth inning of their game last Saturday against San Diego.

Cox got tossed by umpire Paul Emmel in the second after Gonzalez was called out at first on a close play. Emmel was the umpire at second base in Game 1 who called Posey safe on a stolen base when replays showed he was out. Posey later scored the only run of the game.

The 69-year-old Cox, who is retiring after the season, did not argue in the opener - but he did this time. He was ejected by Emmel immediately after throwing his hat to the ground.

Notes

  • Cain went 11-0 in 18 starts when receiving three runs of support this season.
  • Cox has been ejected from a record 158 regular-season games.
  • Ankiel's shot was the 18th go-ahead homer of his career.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Atlanta

R. Ankiel
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
San Francisco

P. Burrell
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Omar Infante, 3B-2B5020120 .333
Jason Heyward, RF5000023 .000
Derrek Lee, 1B5220011 .222
Brian McCann, C4121110 .429
Melky Cabrera, LF5101013 .000
Brooks Conrad, 2B4010011 .143
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
    Kyle Farnsworth, P0000000 .000
Alex Gonzalez, SS5012002 .125
Rick Ankiel, CF5121011 .250
Tommy Hanson, P1000011 .000
   a- Nate McLouth, PH10100001.000
    Mike Dunn, P0000000 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   b- Eric Hinske, PH1000000 .000
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
   c- Matt Diaz, PH1000011 .000
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
    Troy Glaus, 3B1000000 .000
    Diory Hernandez, 3B0000000 .000
Totals435115211  
a-singled for Hanson in the 5th
b-flied out for Moylan in the 7th
c-struck out for Venters in the 8th
Batting
2B - Alex Gonzalez (1, Wilson)
HR - Rick Ankiel (1, Ramirez)
SH - Brooks Conrad (1)
RBI - Brian McCann (1), Melky Cabrera (1), Alex Gonzalez 2 (2), Rick Ankiel (1)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Melky Cabrera 1
DP - Cabrera-Lee, Glaus-Infante-Lee
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tommy Hanson 4544151 9.00
Mike Dunn 1.1000020 0.00
Peter Moylan 0.2100010 0.00
Jonny Venters 1200010 0.00
Craig Kimbrel 2000040 0.00
Billy Wagner 0.1100000 0.00
Kyle Farnsworth (W,1-0) 1.2100100 0.00
HBP - F. Sanchez (by Kyle Farnsworth)
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Hanson 61-38, Mike Dunn 19-13, Peter Moylan 14-10, Jonny Venters 13-9, Craig Kimbrel 33-23, Billy Wagner 3-3, Kyle Farnsworth 27-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Hanson 4-2, Mike Dunn 1-1, Peter Moylan 1-0, Jonny Venters 1-1, Craig Kimbrel 2-0, Billy Wagner 1-0, Kyle Farnsworth 1-3
Batters Faced - Tommy Hanson 17, Mike Dunn 4, Peter Moylan 3, Jonny Venters 5, Craig Kimbrel 6, Billy Wagner 2, Kyle Farnsworth 7
San Francisco Giants
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Andres Torres, CF4000023 .125
Freddy Sanchez, 2B4110022 .125
Aubrey Huff, 1B4000131 .143
Buster Posey, C4110111 .375
Pat Burrell, LF3123001 .333
    Nate Schierholtz, PR-RF2000000 .000
Juan Uribe, SS-3B5010021 .143
Pablo Sandoval, 3B4010010 .167
    Ramon Ramirez, P0000000 .000
   a- Travis Ishikawa, PH1000001 .000
Cody Ross, RF-LF5110012 .286
Matt Cain, P2011010 .500
    Javier Lopez, P0000000 .000
   b- Aaron Rowand, PH10100001.000
    Sergio Romo, P0000000 .000
    Brian Wilson, P0000000 .000
    Mike Fontenot, 3B0000000 .000
   c- Edgar Renteria, PH-SS10100001.000
Totals404104213  
a-flied out for Ramirez in the 11th
b-singled for Lopez in the 7th
c-hit a bunt single for Fontenot in the 10th
Batting
2B - Pat Burrell (1, Moylan), Cody Ross (1, Hanson)
HR - Pat Burrell (1, Hanson)
SH - Andres Torres (1)
RBI - Pat Burrell 3 (3), Matt Cain (1)
2-OUT RBI - Pat Burrell 3 (3)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Uribe-Huff
E - Pat Burrell (1, Misplayed grounder), Pablo Sandoval (1, Throwing)
San Francisco Giants
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Matt Cain 6.2710260 0.00
Javier Lopez (H,1) 0.1000010 0.00
Sergio Romo0222000 0.00
Brian Wilson (BS,1) 2110030 0.00
Ramon Ramirez (L,0-1) 2111011 4.50
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Cain 102-66, Javier Lopez 7-4, Sergio Romo 8-5, Brian Wilson 35-26, Ramon Ramirez 27-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Cain 4-9, Brian Wilson 3-1, Ramon Ramirez 4-1
Batters Faced - Matt Cain 28, Javier Lopez 1, Sergio Romo 2, Brian Wilson 8, Ramon Ramirez 7
Game Information
Attendance - 44046
Game Time - 3:47
Temperature - 65
Umpires - Home - Paul Nauert, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Jerry Layne