Did someone mention resiliency? After again blowing a lead — actually two leads — with a combination of Hibernation Mode and sketchy defense, the Braves erupted for six tenth-inning runs to take the series.
The Braves took a lead in the first when Melky doubled with one out, took third on a passed ball, and came home on a groundout by Gonzalez. Tommy Hanson really had it working — it’s a shame he doesn’t know how to win. He retired the first nine Astros in order, but was hit by a ball from the leadoff man in the fourth, and couldn’t come up with it in time for the out. The runner stole second, then Tommy had him picked off, only to drop the ball in a rundown that the Braves really didn’t execute well. The runner then scored third and, after a walk, came home on a single. Hanson then locked down and got the next three men, and with two out in the fifth singled home Conrad to give himself a 2-1 lead. He didn’t allow another baserunner except for a walk in the seventh.
The Braves blew a couple of chances to extend their lead. Diaz doubled with two out in the sixth, and was stranded. Ross doubled to lead off the seventh and was, typically, never advanced. Venters walked a man in the eighth but got around it. But Wagner wasn’t so fortunate. The leadoff man in the ninth hit a terrible little dribbler to reach. He then went to third on a hard single to left; I still don’t understand how that happened. Wagner got ahead of the next batter but allowed a long lineout to score him, then got the next two.
Conrad didn’t come up with the heroics in the tenth, flying out leading off. But Ankiel worked a walk, and then went to second on a botched pickoff play (finally happening to the other guys!). Hinske, hitting for Wagner, was intentionally walked. Infante just missed a homer, hitting high off the wall for an RBI double, and Diory ran for Hinske. Then the Astros, for some ungodly reason, intentionally walked Melky. AAG came through with a single to make it 4-2, then Brian McCann hit for Diaz. Homer, a long one, 8-2, just like that. Conrad committed an error leading off the bottom of the tenth, but Saito struck out the next two then got a flyout to end it.