ATLANTA (AFP) – Brian Snicker wants the Atlanta Braves to pay more attention when they run the bases.
A fifth consecutive postseason awaits the reigning world champion, the Atlanta manager knows the team can’t make mistakes on the base lanes.
“As a key player, you have to focus on the guy in front of you and nobody else because he might fall, and he might not see things the way other people do,” Snicker said. “Your primary focus is the guy in front of you when you’re running the rules, and we weren’t really conscious in some of the situations today.”
Joey Meneses green-lighted Jesse Chavez in the seventh inning twice and the Washington Nationals halted the Braves’ five-game winning streak with a 3-2 win on Wednesday that cost Atlanta a poor performance.
Ronald Acuna Jr. drove in an early run and scored another goal for Atlanta, which sealed a post-season appearance the night before.
Atlanta slipped into eighth when Michael Harris hit second single to the right with Austin Riley in second and William Contreras in first. Third base coach Ron Washington Riley, who had finished third, was fended off by Contreras, but Contreras was nearly third and was pushed back into second by catcher Trace Parreira, who took a throw from right-hander Lyn Thomas.
“Wach was shoving me the whole time and then at the last second I raised the stop sign, and I think at that point Contreras was already there,” Riley said. “It’s hard. It happens.”
Snitker said the Braves had a bassers meeting on Tuesday to get past the complexities of staying alert.
“It’s only when you play close matches that these are the things that you can control,” Snicker said. “There are many things in this game that you can’t control, but we can control our basic technique. It’s awareness more than anything else. We talk about it a lot. We show them different videos and different angles.
“Most of them are visual learners. And we do that a little bit.”
Atlanta is one game behind the New York Mets, leaders in the Premier League, who lost 6-0 at Milwaukee. The Braves won 10 consecutive home games, outperforming rivals 47-16.
Atlanta is 52-26 at Truist Park, with one three-game series remaining against the Mets from September 30 through October. 2. The Braves are the best in the league 71-29 since May 31.
Minnes put the Nationals ahead 3-2 with his 10th run, 420 feet to let the 30-year-old rookie go. He leads last in Washington with 57 hits, 10 catches and 25 RBIs since his major league debut on August 2.
“I can’t say enough about what Joey has done for us since he’s been here,” said Nationals coach Dave Martinez. “He was hitting balls, doubles, house baths, hitting the base, but today it was all about the team. We came out with a win.”
Andres Machado (2-0) Scored Sixth Sixth Karl Edwards Jr survived congestion with two riders in first and third in eighth when Eddie Rosario lined up and Kyle Finnegan took a perfect ninth in his 11th stoppage at 15 chances.
Chavez (4-2) lost one game and one in two-thirds of the game.
Atlanta capitalized on Paulo Espino’s irregular throws at first base to make it 1-0 in the first. Leading by one goal, Acuña advanced to second after a foul by Espino in a throwing attempt and scored when Contreras hit one floor and fired Espino hard for first again.
Atlanta won 11 of 12 against the Nationals and started today 26-8 in the series since the start of last year.
Bryce Elder gave up one run with two runs and six strokes in 5 2/3 innings for the Braves.
“He came in sixth and gave us a chance to win the match,” Snicker said. “I thought he did a really good job and was solid. He was juggling a few different things, but he was very solid and strong.”
Sheikh stranded runner in the scoring center in third place. Josh Palacios hit a pitch in the fifth, and Palacios advanced to third in Parreira’s song before Thomas’ sacrifice fly cut the 2-1 difference.
Espino gave up four hits and two runs – he got one – in four rounds. He has a 4.94 ERA in 17 starts.
Countryman DH Nelson Cruz missed his seventh straight game with an eye infection.
Washington quarterback Victor Robles ran forward to his left to catch the Acuña fly, he stood and threw with precision to double Vaughn Grissom first and get a double play in the fifth. … The Nationals finished the bottom seventh with a double play when Dansby Swanson was knocked out and Grissom was caught stealing. …. Thomas got his eighth help. … Harris ran hard to his right to make a slim left-of-centre catch in the bottom eight.
Nationals: After Thursday’s day off, RHP Josiah Gray (7-9, 5.14 ERA) will face an as-yet-unnamed bowler with the Marlins as Washington opens a three-game series in Miami.
The Braves: LHP Max Fried (13-6, 2.52) will face Ranger Suárez (9-5, 3.53) as Atlanta opens a four-game series in Philadelphia. Fried has no resolution with a 3.50 ERA in three starts against the Phillies this year.