In one of the most emotionally draining wins of the season, the Braves held a one-run lead going into the top of the ninth, lost it, tied it in the bottom half, then ended up with a walk-off 7-5 win in the 10th inning, thanks to Escobar's two-run homer in front of 20,896 rowdy fans in Atlanta.
Every day from now to Spring Training, MLB.com/Live will air a classic game on Baseball's Best. Escobar's walk-off homer to lift the Braves can be seen Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
"I'm certainly glad that we came back to win it, because we've been dealing with our share of tough losses, and this could have been another one," Smoltz said afterward. "But fortunately we came through and won the game."
The Braves held a 4-3 lead going into the ninth inning and had to feel pretty good about their situation.
Coming off a 15-day disabled-list stint, Smoltz was returning to a role he was so good in from 2001-04 -- closer. But the veteran right-hander put runners on second and third with two outs when Jeremy Hermida singled to left field to bring in Matt Treanor -- after the ball rolled under Omar Infante's glove -- and Wes Helms, giving the Marlins a 6-5 lead.
But Florida's closer couldn't do his job, either, as Kevin Gregg threw a wild pitch to allow Jeff Francoeur to score from third base and tie the game at 5 going into extra innings.
"We caught a couple of breaks tonight," Braves manager Bobby Cox said after the game.
Then, after Will Ohman retired the Marlins in succession in the top of the 10th, the scene was set for Escobar to bust out of his slump in a big way. With Kelly Johnson drawing a leadoff walk and Escobar taking a 3-0 get-me-over fastball from Logan Kensing out to center field, on a ball that hit the top padding of the wall and then bounced over, the Braves had one of their most thrilling victories on the year.
"He feels really good right now, and he's just trying to help the team win," said center fielder Gregor Blanco, who was translating for Escobar.
"He thought it was just a fly ball and was trying to do his job [and move the runner]."