Ankiel, Glaus and Farnsworth: Whose success was most stunning?

That was game seven-type stuff from the Atlanta Braves and the San Francisco Giants on Friday night.

Bobby Cox got ejected, the Braves clawed back from a quick deficit after a Pat Burrell(notes) hit a three-run homer and tied the score against Brian Wilson's(notes) beard in the eighth inning.

And that was before Troy Glaus(notes) and all of the ex-Kansas City Royals took over.

An unlikely trio of Glaus, Rick Ankiel(notes) and Kyle Farnsworth(notes) played a pivotal role in creating and preserving a stunning 5-4 Braves victory in 11 innings in Game 2 of the NLDS.

But which of the three gentleman was the most unlikely to help the Braves even the series heading back to Atlanta?

Let's recap, then speak up in the comments.

Professor Farnsworth

• A dramatic injury to Atlanta's soon-to-retire closer, Billy Wagner(notes) (right) — who strained a muscle in his side in the bottom of the 10th — forced the team to put n'er-do-well Farnsworth in a must-not-stink situation.

Farnsworth proceeded to hit the first batter he faced, Freddy Sanchez(notes). And then Aubrey Huff(notes) walked to load the bases for Buster Posey(notes).


If all of the relievers in the major leagues were a high-school graduating class, Farnsworth might be voted most likely to blow the save. His greatest accomplishment in the major leagues might be taking down Paul Wilson of the Reds with a textbook tackle during a brawl.

Until Friday night. Farnsworth wriggled out of the jam (more on that in a moment) and pitched a scoreless 11th — which was no less surprising.

Santa Glaus

• Glaus, who is 33-years-old going on 38, had played two innings at third base all season. And it looked like it when Edgar Renteria(notes) led off the 10th with a bunt single — the play in which Wagner got hurt — with Glaus falling down on the slippery grass.

Later, with the bases loaded and Posey a long fly ball from giving San Francisco a commanding series lead, Glaus started a jaw-dropping 5-4-3 double play that — if it failed — would have cost the Braves the game.

Glaus told teammates he nearly "threw up" from the adrenaline rush of going in as a defensive replacement — words seldom-associated with Troy Glaus — and he almost made Braves fans lose their religion by not taking the easier out at home. Teammate Brian McCann(notes) was glad Glaus had the conviction to make the play he did.

"Troy Glaus, you know, he's been there and done that," McCann said. "This isn't new to him, playoff baseball. The pressure. It's not new to him, and he showed it. If I had that ball at third, I'd have choked it.

"He made his mind up, if that ball was hit to him he was going to turn two. He made the right play. He's been doing that a long time. He can make that throw in his sleep, but he hasn't done it in a while. That's amazing. That was an amazing play."

Ankiel Biter

• Farnsworth and Ankiel started the season in Kansas City with no hopes of smelling the playoffs, but here they are thanks to a transfusion trade. Ankiel, who had gone deep once in his past 61 at-bats including regular season and playoffs, annihilated a Ramon Ramirez(notes) pitch into the waters of McCovey Cove for a go-ahead homer.

The blast cleared the kayakers and took the home fans' collective breath away, teammate Jason Heyward(notes) said.

"They had biggest crowd ever here tonight it went silent except for 30 guys yelling in our dugout," Heyward said.

Ankiel got the big hit, and most of you know his backstory as a failed pitcher who lost the ability to throw strikes. Even though he's not a great hitter overall, his comeback would make for a great biography.

"This is the pinnacle of everything I've ever done, to win a playoff game with a home run," Ankiel told TBS.

If only the Braves had brought him in to close. Hey, that's Farnsworth's job, keep away!

A great night for all three guys. Tell us which was the biggest surprise?

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Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave

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