ATLANTA -- As Braves manager Brian Snitker digested Friday night's 5-4 win over the Brewers at SunTrust Park, he marveled at the athleticism and instincts his two rookie infielders -- Dansby Swanson and Johan Camargo -- displayed while making game-saving defensive plays in the final two innings."That play Dansby made,
ATLANTA -- As Braves manager Brian Snitker digested Friday night's 5-4 win over the Brewers at SunTrust Park, he marveled at the athleticism and instincts his two rookie infielders -- Dansby Swanson and Johan Camargo -- displayed while making game-saving defensive plays in the final two innings.
"That play Dansby made, I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like that," Snitker said. "To have the guts to make that play is the biggest thing to me."
Before making a game-ending diving catch -- preserving the one-run lead he'd delievered with an RBI single in the seventh inning -- Swanson made the first of his ninth-inning defensive gems, an instinctual play that showcased the kind of confidence and aggression not expected from a player with just one full year of professional experience under his belt.
After Eric Thames doubled off Arodys Vizcaino to begin the ninth, Swanson began thinking about what he would do if the next ball was hit to him. Moments later, he took a few steps to his left, snared Domingo Santana's sharp grounder and then spun to make an accurate throw that allowed Camargo to apply the tag just before Thames reached third base.
"It kind of went through my head before it happened," Swanson said. "I was just thinking about a play like that and trying to be aggressive. It just so happened to happen right after that. It's so crazy how you can process something before it happens and then when it does happen, it's just reaction."
There was no guarantee Swanson would have gotten an out at first base, but had he attempted to do so, the Brewers would have had a runner on third base with one out in a one-run game. The 23-year-old shortstop was certainly aggressive with his choice to throw to third base, but it was a calculated decision that validated his will to win.
"There wasn't any hesitation," Snitker said. "He saw [Thames] as not a great runner and tried to make a play. If he's safe right there, I can't fault him for trying to make a play."
While Swanson's gem might have been influenced by his advanced baseball IQ, Camargo's game-saving play was a product of an instantaneous reaction that validated the belief he might be the organization's best pure defender.
With runners two on and one out in the eighth, Braves right-handed reliever Jose Ramirez was staring a trouble. Jesus Aguilar then ripped a sharp grounder that seemed destined to make its way down the left field line before Camargo lunged to his left and fell to a knee before quickly rising and firing to second base to begin an inning-ending double play.
"He can make plays," Snitker said. "He's an athletic kid. You watch this kid. He has skills. He's what you want in a baseball player. Skills play in this league and he has them."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.