Furcal lifts Braves, delays jail stay

Associated Press

ATLANTA -- With plenty of incentive, Rafael Furcal made sure the Atlanta Braves' season lasts at least two more games.

Set to report to jail once the postseason ends, Furcal hit a two-out, two-run homer in the 11th inning that sent the Braves over the Houston Astros 4-2 Thursday and tied their NL playoff series at one game each.

With Houston on the verge of a commanding lead, Atlanta rallied from a late two-run deficit to force extra innings. Both teams went to extraordinary means -- the Astros looking to go two-up in the best-of-five series, the Braves realizing they needed a split before heading to Minute Maid Park, where Houston has won 18 straight games.

Braves rookie Charles Thomas singled with one out in the 11th off Dan Miceli and stole second. Eli Marrero popped out to the catcher, but Furcal golfed a 1-2 pitch deep into the right-field seats, flipping his bat in the air about halfway down to celebrate his first postseason homer.


Furcal was in court just hours before Game 1, where he was sentenced to 21 days in jail and 28 days in a treatment center for violating probation with his second drunken-driving arrest in four years.

"For me, I come to the ballpark, walk in the stadium and forget about everything," said Furcal, who had three hits and drove in three runs.

His sentence doesn't begin until the Braves' season finishes. Furcal ensured that it won't be ending with Saturday's Game 3.

"I think he felt just terrible," Cox said. "Today, things worked out good for him. He got the game-winner, and that's a big boost for him."

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