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After rare error, Simmons admits pressure of skid

ATLANTA -- Stuck in the rut of a seven-game losing streak, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons admits that he and his teammates are perhaps pressing, saying, "Maybe we're trying to do too much."

"There's a little urgency," Simmons said. "You want to win. You don't want to keep losing. It's not comfortable. It's not OK. You want to win that game, and you try to do a little too much sometimes."

Simmons feels he pressed when trying to field a grounder up the middle off the bat of Mark Ellis in the fifth inning of the Braves' 4-3 loss to the Cardinals on Monday night at Turner Field.

Simmons botched a potential double-play ball with St. Louis pitcher Shelby Miller standing in the on-deck circle. With two men on and no outs, Miller bunted them over, and Matt Carpenter brought them home on a two-run double.

"I might have tried to hurry to see if I had a play at second, and that might have taken my eye off the ball a little bit or make me come up a little early instead of securing the ball and just going to first," Simmons said.

The error led to two unearned runs in a three-run fifth for St. Louis on a night that saw Atlanta generate some offensive momentum. The Braves tallied nine hits and scored three runs, matching their three-game total from their series loss to the Giants.

"I think if it wasn't for that error, we would've won the game," Simmons said. "If we play solid defense, I think we would have had that game, because we hit well."

Although the Braves improved at the plate on Monday night, they continued to struggle in the clutch. Evan Gattis notched a run-scoring single for Atlanta's lone hit in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

During the seven-game skid, the Braves batted just .118 (6-for-51) with runners in scoring position. Even though Monday ended in defeat, the players were encouraged.

"I felt like we were more in the game," Simmons said. "I felt like the guys were more focused up there. I mean, yeah, we're not going to be perfect. We're going to swing at a pitch high, we're going to chase sliders in the dirt. ... But I thought we did a better job than we did in games before."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for
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