McLouth's shot caps Braves' rally

Back-to-back Braves home runs with two out in the ninth, and another homer in the 1oth to beat the Phillies. There may have been more improbable finishes in recent Braves history than Tuesday's, but none come immediately to mind.

After Troy Glaus and Jason Heyward hit consecutive homers to wake a moribund offense and force extra innings, Nate McLouth hit a 10th-inning leadoff homer for a stunning 4-3 win against Philadelphia in a series opener at Turner Field.

"These are the best kind of wins, no question about that," said manager Bobby Cox, whose Braves got their fifth win in six games to move into a first-place tie with Philadelphia in the National League East. "And they're the roughest to lose."

McLouth was hitting just .138 with one RBI all season before homering on a 2-2 slider from Jose Contreras, which McLouth said was the first walk-off home run he's hit at any level, from Little League on up.

"When something like that happens, both on a personal and team level, hopefully it builds confidence and you can carry it over," McLouth said.

Cox has seen an awful lot of baseball games, but the venerable skipper couldn't remember a finish quite as wild and unpredictable as this one from his team, which mustered only four hits through 8 2/3 scoreless innings.

When McLouth hit his game-ending homer, the Braves had the presence of mind to pull a prank on him, all of them going into the tunnel that leads from the dugout to the clubhouse to wait for him there, instead of at home plate.

McLouth, who hasn't had much to smile about this season, loved the gesture.

"Couldn't have happened to a better kid, McLouth," Cox said of the game-winning hit. "Maybe that will get him on track and get him started."

Same for Glaus, who was booed several times Tuesday before starting the big-blow rally with his two-run homer off acting Phillies closer Ryan Madson.

A small crowd (18,032) roared approval for the man they had booed, and before many of them even sat back down Heyward followed with a solo shot off Madson that made the score 3-3.

"We hung in there like we've done all season, nothing but a team effort," said Heyward, who leads major league rookies by wide margins in home runs  (four) and RBIs (16).

"He's just got that air about him," Cox said of Heyward, who homered on a Madson's 0-1 change-up. "And he's been doing it, so you expect it."

Not so with Glaus, who was hitting .182 overall with one extra-base hit before his ninth-inning blast to left field.

“Without question the team has a lot of heart,” Glaus said. “Obviously you can’t count on three home runs in the ninth and the 10th inning to win every game, but we will take it certainly. But hopefully we come out tomorrow and take advantage of some opportunities early.”

As for being booed by the home fans, he said: “All I can do is do my job. “Come in early, work on it, try to find something to get it right. It’s not always going to show up in one day but the at-bat in the ninth obviously went well. I’ll be back in here tomorrow working again.”

Glaus homered after Chipper Jones drew a one-out walk and Brian McCann flied out.

"It sent a big charge through the team," Heyward said of Glaus' homer.