ATLANTA — Brian McCann stood at second base, convinced he had just hit a game-winning homer.
His teammates gathered along the first-base line, ready to celebrate.
After 86 seconds, umpire crew chief Tim McClelland popped out of the Florida dugout, looked toward McCann and twirled his right index finger — the universal signal for a home run.
Upon further review, the Braves win.
McCann capped a stunning comeback with a replay-assisted homer that gave Atlanta a 7-6 victory over the Marlins on Sunday — the first time a game ended on a call using video.
Without it, McCann might have only gotten credit for a double and the game would have continued on. Instead, he was jumping into the arms of his teammates after the umps took a second look, taking advantage of a limited replay rule that went into effect two years earlier almost to the day — Aug. 28, 2008 — to make sure they got these sort of calls right.
“I heard it hit the back tin (wall), so I knew that wasn’t the sound of the pads,” McCann said. “I knew it was a homer. I was telling at Tim McClelland, ‘I promise you it’s a homer, I heard it hit the back.’”
Pinch-hitter Matt Diaz tied the game with a two-run homer off Leo Nunez (4-3) after Brooks Conrad led off the ninth with a walk. Nunez retired the next two hitters, then McCann drove a 1-2 pitch toward the wall in right.
The ball bounced back onto the field, and the umpires initially ruled it was still in play. McCann stopped at second and began arguing that he should have more than a double.
The umpires conferred, then headed toward the tunnel alongside the Florida dugout to look at a replay that clearly showed the ball struck the top of the wall — right over McCann’s name on an auxiliary scoreboard — and went over. It ricocheted back onto the field off the wall in front of the seats.
“Yep, that was a home run,” said Florida manager Edwin Rodriguez, whose team took a devastating loss in its long-shot bid to get back in the playoff race. “It was a home run all the way.”
When McClelland signaled homer, McCann finished his triumphant jog around the bases, slamming down his helmet before he touched home and disappeared into a mob surrounding the plate.
“It was the worst celebration of all time,” McCann quipped. “I got lost in the moment.”
The NL East-leading Braves overcame a 6-1 deficit, scoring three runs in the eighth and three more in the ninth for a victory they will surely remember if they hold on for their first division title since 2005.
“There’s not a better feeling,” McCann said. “It makes it better being in a playoff race.”
Takashi Saito (2-3) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win, while Nunez’s eighth blown save in 37 chances ruined a strong outing by Florida starter Josh Johnson, who pitched three-hit ball over six innings and allowed only an unearned run.
The Braves won for the 23rd time in their final at-bat, which leads the majors. It wasn’t even their biggest comeback of the season — a seven-run ninth gave Atlanta a 10-9 victory over Cincinnati back in May.