The Atlanta Braves overcame some mistakes in the field to extend their win streak to 10 games on Tuesday. They were unable to do the same on Wednesday afternoon.
The Kansas City Royals scored a run in the fourth inning, which proved to be enough in the 1-0 victory to spoil the Braves’ efforts at an 11-game winning streak.
The two teams may still be playing if catcher Evan Gattis had made a simple play in the fourth inning. Gattis had Alcides Escobar stranded between first and second following his leadoff single. However, Gattis held on to the ball too long as he came out of his catcher’s stance to allow Escobar to scamper back to first just ahead of the tag.
Starting pitcher Mike Minor nearly worked around the mistake as he had two outs and an 0-2 count to Jeff Francoeur with runners at first and second base. The only mistake Minor made on the day was leaving his next pitch over the heart of the plate — a changeup that Francoeur roped into left field to score Escobar.
Minor pitched well enough to win (six innings, five hits, five strikeouts and zero walks), but the Braves couldn’t muster any offense on the day.
Defensive lapses will likely cost the Braves a few games in 2013. Despite being strong at multiple spots, the shortcomings at the other positions will pop up now and then. One of those is catcher, and unfortunately for Gattis and the Braves, one mistake was the difference on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Gattis will go through some growing pains as he learns to become an MLB catcher. Today was one of those days, and manager Fredi Gonzalez has to use those moments to teach him to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future. Better for it to happen in April than during a playoff race in September.