ATLANTA -- As the Braves have made multiple acquisitions in an attempt to find an everyday third baseman, Johan Camargo has done little to tarnish the belief he has always stood as the best option.To be fair, Camargo hasn't been in position to serve in this potential role until now.
ATLANTA -- As the Braves have made multiple acquisitions in an attempt to find an everyday third baseman, Johan Camargo has done little to tarnish the belief he has always stood as the best option.
To be fair, Camargo hasn't been in position to serve in this potential role until now. He missed the final two weeks of Spring Training with an oblique strain and when he returned he wasn't going to unseat Ryan Flaherty, who spent most of April leading the National League in hitting. His time over the past two weeks has been spent playing shortstop for Dansby Swanson.
But with Swanson activated from the disabled list and filling the shortstop role for Saturday night's 8-1 win over the Marlins, Camargo took advantage of the chance to prove what he can do when manning third base. The slick-fielding switch-hitter produced a couple defensive gems and highlighted his two-hit performance with a game-tying single during the decisive four-run fifth inning.
"He hadn't been hitting into real good luck lately, but that's a couple big hits and he played a really good game at third," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Sean Newcomb saw his scoreless streak end at 21 innings, but allowed one run over six innings and exited with a 1.68 ERA over his past eight starts. Ender Inciarte produced three hits for the first-place Braves and Freddie Freeman sealed the win with a two-run homer in the eighth inning.
But the game's most intriguing development came via the contributions made by Camargo, who was in a 5-for-35 rut before he delivered a game-tying single off Jose Urena during the fifth inning. He dented the left-field wall with an RBI double in the seventh inning and then fittingly ended the game by backhanding Lewis Brinson's grounder behind third before showing off his arm with an accurate throw to first base.
"He's one of those guys where if he hits it off his chest or kicks it to the side, he's going to make up for it with his arm," Newcomb said. "You always feel comfortable with [the ball] going to him because you know he's going to get a glove on it. Then, he's got a cannon."
With highly touted prospect Austin Riley quickly rising toward potentially becoming Atlanta's third baseman of the future, Camargo's long-term role in Atlanta might be as a utility man. There's no doubt he can provide value in that same role this year. But he seemingly deserves at least a chance to share third-base duties with Flaherty.
The Braves had reason to take essentially a no-risk chance that Jose Bautista might find the fountain of youth and thrive as their everyday third baseman. But since joining Atlanta's roster on May 4 -- the day Swanson was placed on the 10-day DL -- the once-intimidating slugger has batted .143 (5-for-35) with two home runs and extended his woes against right-handed pitching.
As the Braves signed Flaherty four days before Opening Day and welcomed Bautista earlier this month, Camargo recovered from his injury and filled whatever role he was assigned. Now, he at least seemingly has a chance to fill that role he aimed for at the start of Spring Training.
"God has a plan," Camargo said through an interpreter. "Right now, I'm just trying to stay focused on what I can do right here and keep my head up."
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Eventful fifth: In his sixth three-hit performance of the season, Inciarte produced an infield single to the right side and then advanced to second base when Starlin Castro made an errant glove flip toward the first-base bag. Camargo followed with his game-tying single. Swanson added to the excitement when he located a go-ahead safety squeeze bunt down the first-base line that scored Inciarte.
"Dansby had a great safety squeeze," Snitker said. "You couldn't have executed that any better."
Newk's diligence: As he moved toward legitimizing himself as a frontline starter, Newcomb has experienced many nights like this where he didn't have a dominant fastball, curveball or changeup. But having confidence in each of the three pitches has helped him minimize damage, like he did after Cameron Maybin's double gave the Marlins a pair of runners in scoring position with none out in the second. The Braves left-hander bid adieu to his scoreless streak with John Holaday's RBI groundout and then escaped without further damage.
"You start thinking the kid is starting to get it and he's for real," Snitker said. "He's kind of what we want him to be. I just like how he's always backing up every one with another one."
Inciarte now has 22 three-hit games dating back to the start of the 2017 season. Kristopher Bryant entered Saturday having tallied a NL-leading 23 in this span.
"It's just what you expect out of him," Snitker said. "He's just a solid player. He can really hit. It's just kind of one of those things. It's become commonplace with him."
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Something had to give when Inciarte attempted to add to his Major League-leading stolen base total while testing Holaday's arm. The Braves center fielder had been successful with 14 of 15 attempts to steal second base before becoming the seventh straight basestealer nabbed by the Marlins' catcher.
Inciarte is 18 of 22 in stolen base attempts (4-for-6 attempting to steal third base). He was thrown out nine times while swiping a career-high 22 bags last year.
Julio Teheran will attempt to win a fourth straight start when the Braves and Marlins conclude their three-game series at SunTrust Park on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET. Teheran's 15-inning scoreless streak was erased as he battled windy conditions and allowed a pair of home runs in Monday's victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Marlins will counter with Wei-Yin Chen, who has completed at least five innings in just one of his first four starts.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.