Lessons learned for Bethancourt in key eighth
After passed ball, rookie backstop charged with costly catcher's interference
ATLANTA -- The Braves entered the eighth inning of the finale of their four-game set with the Padres ahead by three runs, six outs from a series win. But the game unraveled in that frame as San Diego scored three runs to tie it, eventually splitting the series with a 6-4 win in 11 innings.
"That was a weird eighth inning," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "First three guys get on, and they score three runs without putting the ball in play.
Braves starter Julio Teheran opened the inning having allowed just one run, but he gave up back-to-back singles to the tail end of the Padres' lineup, then walked leadoff hitter Wil Myers to load the bases with no outs.
Gonzalez then called on recently promoted left-hander Dana Eveland, while the Padres had Justin Upton hit for Will Venable. During Upton's at-bat, rookie catcher Christian Bethancourt allowed a passed ball that brought home the inning's first run.
"I'm thinking that's the first time he's caught Eveland," Gonzalez said. "Maybe he hadn't seen him and didn't see the ball."
Three batters later, David Aardsma was a strike away from preserving the Braves' lead, after striking out Derek Norris on three pitches and getting ahead of Cory Spangenberg, 1-2. He wouldn't get that chance though, as Bethancourt was called for catcher's interference and Myers trotted home from third to tie the game at 4.
"I could hear it in the dugout," Gonzalez said. "I don't think there was any question [that Spangenberg's bat hit Bethancourt's glove]."
After going through four relievers in one inning, the Braves saw their 4-1 lead extinguished thanks to a pair of walks and a pair of miscues from Bethancourt behind the dish.
San Diego second baseman Yangervis Solarte may have done the most damage with a two-run single in the 11th inning, but the tone was set for Atlanta in the eighth.
"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot there," Gonzalez said. "That was the whole game, really."