05/03/12 1:00 PM ET
Braves attempting to save Chipper's momentos
By Guy Curtright / Special to MLB.com
Thanks to a little extra negotiating with the fan who got the ball, Van Zant was able to retrieve the memorable keepsake.
The game-winning blast in the 11th inning was Jones' eighth career walk-off homer, in addition to being the 500th of his Major and Minor League career during the regular season.
"I just go out and play," Jones said. "But to have Chris doing this will mean a lot to me down the road. It was a special moment. Not much beats a walk-off homer, and I think that was the wildest game I've ever been in."
After having a potential homer go just foul, Jones connected on a 3-2 pitch and smashed a long drive to right-center field with a man on to give the Braves a dramatic 15-13 victory over the Phillies.
Van Zant started to collect home run balls for Jones last season and has all of them except one of Jones' four roundtrippers this year.
"I appreciate the fans who are willing to cooperate," said Van Zant, who tries to work out a trade. "They realize that the moment means more to Chipper than it does to them."
Despite the dramatic homer, Jones wasn't in the starting lineup as scheduled on Thursday for the series finale with the Phillies. Jones continues to take breaks to rest his troublesome knee.
"It's been fun," said Jones of his final season, which includes a homer in his first game and another on his 40th birthday, in addition to his first walk-off long ball in five years. "I wish my knee would allow me to be in there more. But it's been good to make a splash when I do play."
McCann feeling fine after being poked in eye
ATLANTA -- The celebration at home plate after Chipper Jones' game-winning homer against the Phillies in the 11th inning went off without incident. That wasn't the case, though, after Brian McCann's tying grand slam in the fifth.
McCann was accidentally poked in the right eye by happy teammate Michael Bourn after crossing the plate.
"It was just in the moment," said McCann, who was able to remain in the game after getting eye drops. "I'll take that every day to get a grand slam."
Still, there was concern about how the catcher might feel when he woke up Thursday morning.
"I was very happy," said McCann, who had no swelling or redness in the eye.
A trip to the eye doctor before coming to Turner Field confirmed that everything was OK.
"I've got a scratch on the outside of the eye," McCann said. "Just a little discomfort. I'm fine."
McCann wasn't in the lineup for the series finale against the Phillies due to the fact it was his scheduled day off. David Ross made the start behind the plate for the Braves.
Gonzalez confident O'Flaherty will rebound
ATLANTA -- No one expected Eric O'Flaherty to be quite as good this season as he was a year ago. After all, the Braves lefty reliever set a Major League record for anyone with 75 or more appearances by posting a 0.98 ERA in 2011.
But after giving up just eight earned runs over 73 2/3 innings last year, O'Flaherty had already allowed seven in 8 1/3 frames this year entering Thursday's series finale against Philadelphia.
O'Flaherty was the victim of a three-run inning for the second time in six appearances Wednesday night, as Carlos Ruiz homered with two on in the seventh inning to put the Phillies back on top in a wild game that the Braves eventually won, 15-13, in 11 innings.
The homer by Ruiz, which followed a leadoff walk and a single, was the second given up by O'Flaherty -- matching last season's total.
Asked if he was concerned, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, "No, not really, because he's had some good outings. Just one bad pitch."
But O'Flaherty has made more than his share of bad pitches the first month. He entered Thursday with a 7.56 ERA and had blown both of his save opportunities.
"We expect so much of him [after last year]," Gonzalez said. "I think he'll be fine."
All hands on deck for Braves in marathon win
ATLANTA -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez used 21 of his 25 players in the 15-13 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday night. Even pitcher Tim Hudson had a bat in the dugout ready to pinch-hit when Chipper Jones hit his walk-off homer in the 11th inning.
If the game had gone to the 12th, the Braves were ready to use Randall Delgado -- Thursday's starter -- and turn to either Livan Hernandez or Cristhian Martinez in the series finale.
Of course, Jones' homer made that all moot.
Chad Durbin got the victory with a perfect 11th inning. He needed only eight pitches to retire the Phillies, but Gonzalez said that he wouldn't have sent him back out for the 12th.
"He did a nice job," Gonzalez said. "But that was going to be it for him."
Except for Durbin, Hernandez and Jonny Venters, it wasn't a day to remember for Braves pitchers.
Craig Kimbrel, who had converted his first eight save opportunities, let a one-run lead slip away in the ninth, forcing extra innings.
"All I can say is, 'I love Chipper Jones,'" Kimbrel said.
Guy Curtright is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.