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McCann’s day off: Catcher cracks two clutch homers off bench

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann wasn't in the lineup Tuesday afternoon against Houston Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez — a pitcher he's 0 for 8 against in his career.

But that didn't stop the 2010 All-Star game MVP from making an impact in the Braves' dramatic 3-1 extra-innings victory at Turner Field.

Trailing 1-0 and down to his final out, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez sent McCann to the plate to pinch-hit for Tuesday's starting catcher David Ross. McCann fell behind in the count 1-2, but connected on a Mark Melancon hanging curveball, sending it over the wall in left field for a game-tying solo home run.

McCann then remained in the game at catcher. When his turn came around again in the 11th inning, he reached out and hooked a Jeff Fulchino offering down the right-field line, just inside the foul pole for a two-run walk-off home run.

Watch McCann tie the scorewatch McCann's walk-off blast

McCann's big finish wiped away eight scoreless innings for Rodriguez and gave the Astros bullpen their 11th blown save in 16 opportunities.

"If the game is close, I know I'm the first one off the bench to hit," McCann said. "I'm ready for that. I know that's my role when I'm not playing."

I'm not certain how many times a player has hit a game-tying home run and then turned around to hit the game winner, but I know Adrian Beltre did it back on Aug. 20, 2004 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hit the game-tying blast off Braves closer John Smoltz in the ninth and the winner off Juan Cruz in 11th.

A little more McCann from the Altanta Journal-Constitution: {YSP:MORE}

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"Doesn't get much better than that," said McCann, still picking celebratory infield dirt his teammates covered him with out of his ear. "I ate six pounds of dirt."

And his catching pal David Ross offers an interesting take on McCann's afternoon.

"Part of me wants to give him this huge hug, and part of me wants to kick him in the groin because he made it look so easy," Ross said. "I just grinded out nine innings and battled my tail off, and he comes in and hits two homers. I'm so happy for him and us."

Catcher speak. I don't understand it. And after reading this I don't think I want to.

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