ATLANTA -- Sean Newcomb aims to reach a point when he will not be forced to battle trouble as frequently as he has during the first few months of his career. But in the process, the Braves' southpaw will continue to rely on that same quiet intensity that fueled him
ATLANTA -- Sean Newcomb aims to reach a point when he will not be forced to battle trouble as frequently as he has during the first few months of his career. But in the process, the Braves' southpaw will continue to rely on that same quiet intensity that fueled him as he went to the ground and found a way to finish a fantastic play in Sunday's 8-1 win over the Reds at SunTrust Park.
"He was fighting like heck to make a play," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He was just getting after it and trying to get the guy out any way he could. That's pretty good for a big man like that."
Moments after Ozzie Albies, who is generously listed as a 5-foot-9 second baseman, made a leaping grab, the 6-foot-5 Newcomb proved that big men can fall victim to gravity and still display their own form of agility while producing a defensive gem.
"He made a nice play crawling around," Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said with a smile.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning, Reds outfielder Adam Duvall hit a slow dribbler to the right side that might have ended up in no man's land had Newcomb not quickly reacted.
Lying on his stomach, Newcomb fought to gain a handle of the ball and then provided a nifty flip that rolled to first baseman Freddie Freeman's glove to end the threat.
"I couldn't get it with my glove," Newcomb said. "So, I reached my hand out and tipped it a little bit. Once I was on the ground, I kind of gave it that last reach and flip."
The consecutive defenseive gems prevented the Reds from scoring in the third innings despite loading the bases with one out.
"I turned when he had already left his feet," Newcomb said. "I knew his height, but I knew he could get up there. I figured he had a pretty good shot at it. I was pretty pumped when it didn't get by him."
On the way to recording his first career home win, Newcomb routinely escaped trouble. He retired just nine of the final 17 batters faced, but still completed five scoreless innings. He capped his 94-pitch performance by getting Scooter Gennett to fly out with the bases loaded in the fifth.
Newcomb's fastball command has improved during August, and he has not recently missed to the arm side as frequently as he did throughout most of July. Still, he has encountered frequent trouble. But to his credit, opponents have gone 1-for-13 and drawn just one walk against him in 15 plate appearances with the bases loaded this year.
"He's got a knack of staying in there and not allowing things to get out of hand," Snitker said. "I love how he competes. He's not perfect, but he never gives in. His stuff is live. It's just stuff he's going to have to work his way through and experience. But you look and there's a lot there to like."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.