MIAMI -- Jose Bautista enhanced concerns about his defensive capabilities at third base and then showed there might still be some pop left in his bat.Bautista was at least able to breathe a little easier after gaining some redemption and helping the Braves claim a 10-5 win over the Marlins
MIAMI -- Jose Bautista enhanced concerns about his defensive capabilities at third base and then showed there might still be some pop left in his bat.
Bautista was at least able to breathe a little easier after gaining some redemption and helping the Braves claim a 10-5 win over the Marlins on Saturday night at Marlins Park. But his game-tying sixth-inning homer did not completely erase the defensive worries when he committed a two-out error that allowed Miami to construct a go-ahead, four-run fifth.
"Nobody feels any worse than he does about it," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "You've just got to be ready to make the next play."
While attempting to not be adversely affected by the defensive miscue, Bautista provided encouragement from an offensive perspective when he opened the sixth inning by drilling his first homer of the season off Marlins left-handed starter Jarlin Garcia. The 37-year-old veteran snapped an 0-for-13 skid with the solo shot, which was just the second extra-base hit he has tallied while batting .167 (4-for-24) since joining the Braves on May 4.
"I wasn't trying to do anything outstanding," Bautista said. "I was trying to get on base. But I got a good pitch to hit and I was able to connect."
After remaining a free agent through Spring Training, Bautista signed a Minor League deal in April with the understanding the Braves wanted him to play third base, a position he has not seen substantive time at since 2010 (48 games).
Bautista's first costly mistake occurred when he bobbled Brian Anderson's routine chopper in the infield grass with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth. His miscue extended the inning and allowed Derek Dietrich to follow with a go-ahead, three-run double that chased Mike Soroka, who was charged with five runs -- one earned -- on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings.
"It happens," Bautista said. "It's obviously a big situation. They had a lot of baserunners. So, it's not ideal. But you can only make errors if you're playing the field. It's a routine play. I definitely should have made it. It's one I feel comfortable making. It's just that sometimes errors happen."
After Bautista homered, he was removed from the game as a part of a double switch that enabled the Braves to use the more sure-handed Ryan Flaherty at third base.
Bautista will continue to get opportunities to gain more comfort both offensively and defensively. But if he doesn't hit enough to overcome his defensive limitations, the Braves could give the starting role back to Flaherty or Johan Camargo, who is serving as the shortstop while Dansby Swanson is on the disabled list.
"Having experience and repetitions helps," Bautista said. "It's going to continue to get better. I have experience. I have played there in the past. But because I haven't played there consistently in a long time, it takes some repetitions to get back into it."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.