Braves quotes after Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Nationals

WASHINGTON — Braves quotes from Evan Gattis, Ervin Santana, Jason Heyward, Chris Johnson and manager Fredi Gonzalez after Sunday’s 4-1 loss at Nationals Park.


On Santana’s performance and the loss

“He was good. He gave us a good opportunity to win the game. They got a couple of runs in the first inning, and then he settled in and did a nice job. Kept us in the game.

“They had two pretty good perforamances out of their starting pitchers, Fister last night and Roark today. We didn’t get anything going. Got one run in two games. We had some people on base, just couldn’t punch them through.”

Encouraging to see Santana getting ahead of hitters in the middle innings?

“I was encouraged by a lot of things Santana did. His velocity was really good, his fastball was sharp, it had some movement to it. His breaking ball was outstanding. I thought it was a really good outing by him today.”

On scoring opportunities, twice left two on

“That’s where you need a broken bat or something there, get a ball through somebody’s leg or something, just to get a crooked number up.”

On getting momentum with first two wins in series, then losing next two

“You know what, baseball’s funny. If we would’ve lost the first two games and won the last two games, you’d be feeling pretty good about yourself. It didn’t happen that way. It happened the other way, so you’re not feeling real good about yourself. And our goal is always to win series and we didn’t do that. But we didn’t lose a series. Now you’ve got an off day tomorrow and go crank it up again (at Houston).”

Did you think the good work recently by offense was enough to kind of offset the bad games this weekend?

“Yeah, I mean I thought Fister was pretty sharp yesterday. You’ve got to tip your hat, he had some stuff going yesterday. And today we had some opportunities and we didn’t punch runners through. But our pitching kept us in the game the last couple of games. So, off day tomorrow and go to Houston and maybe get our bats going.”

On Chris Johnson getting ejected

“Those check swings are so fine-line. I’ve seen guys take full hacks and not get called, and I’ve seen guys not take a swing or even move their bats and get called. It may be one of the toughest calls that umpires have got to make, those checked swings. I didn’t think from probably the worst angle in the whole place, in the dugout behind him, I didn’t think I saw the bat go across the plate. But I’ve got the worst seat in the house.

“It’s a situation where he’s a highly competitive guy and he wants to drive those runs in and he felt like he didn’t go around.”

On Justin Upton ejection, he was walking toward dugout, did you see that (ejection) coming?

“No, and that’s what I told Mark, I said Mark, he’s walking away from you. I can see if he was there (in front of you). He was just walking away.

“But you don’t know what’s going on, as far as what’s being said.”


On getting ejected after arguing that he’d checked his swing on third strike in 6th inning

“I turned around, just because I check-swung, turned around just to regroup and get myself ready for the next pitch. And then I heard the crowd start cheering, and so I turned around and I was shocked – shocked – that he run me up on that.”

More emotions given the situation, two on in 3-1 game?

“Yes, big spot. Getting late in the ballgame, we had just got their starter out of the game, couple of guys on, one out. You know. Middle part of our order. It was a pretty big spot in the game for a call like that.”

Did he (first-base ump) say anything back to you?

“I couldn’t hear him. He was way down there, so… I was just pointing to make sure that he knew I was talking to him.”

On losing past 2 games with very little offense

“They’re a good ballclub, playing in their park, so coming here for a four-game set and taking two games, we can’t be too upset with that. After taking the first two you would’ve liked to squeeze one more (win) in there, but you’ve got to give them credit. Their pitchers, Roark and Fister, did a good job shutting us down and getting those two wins on the back end. But taking two out of four at their place, against a really good ballclub, we’ll take it and move on.”

So you’ve seen enough good signs lately from offense to not be too concerned by two games this weekend?

“Yeah. It’s the big leagues, too. Those are some pretty good arms. So we go on to Houston and see if we can win a series there.”

On getting an off day Monday

“It’s nice. We don’t get many off days and we’ve had a couple of long stretches. We’re on the road a lot this month, too. So it’ll be nice. We’ll get there, we’ll watch some USA soccer tonight, and we’ll relax.”


One of your better starts in a while?

“Yeah, I felt a lot better. Everything was much better today, location was very good. The first inning (the ball) was a little bit up, but after that I was able to keep the ball down, for the most part.”

On striking out Werth and LaRoche with runner at third

“I just tried to make a good pitch, and I did it and got those outs.”

Seemed like you had a little extra there, up around 96 mph. Did you feel it?

“I felt the fastball coming out very good, and the arm speed too. It was very good for me today.”

On striking out seven out of 10 after Zimmerman’s sac fly in 1st

“I don’t pay attention to that, I just want to get outs.”

On team losing two this weekend

“Just keep our mind positive and keep pushing. We’re going to be good. That’s the thing that I see right now.”


On splitting series with Nats, losing last two games

“Playing against a team that’s been playing really good baseball, in their own park, and we came out and beat two good pitchers. The next two guys in their rotation threw two good games. That’s kind of the bottom line there. I feel like they made some pitches. We did a good job of getting Roark’s pitch count up today, we just missed some. I know I just missed a couple. Good ABs though, all around. Just a little off the barrel today.”

On Santana being more efficient today, pitching well after first inning

“He settled in there nicely. It’s a shame we didn’t get him a couple of runs and put some pressure on their pitcher. (Roark) was able to coast – well, not necessarily coast, but he was able to wiggle his way out of some jams and he still had that comfortable lead. Ervin threw really well for us, their pitcher just threw better.”

On batting fifth instead of leadoff

“The lineup change, I like it. I think everybody else likes it as well. We get a few games going and get comfortable there, I think it’s going to set us up to be pretty danagerous, throughout the whole lineup.”

“Go play some baseball in Houston, got an off day tomorrow, and I like our odds.”

More on batting leadoff

“Now that we have another guy who can bat leadoff, I like being 5. Left-right, left-right, going with Tommy 1, Free 3 and me 5 (among lefty hitters) is nice. You’ve got Gat there. That’s our lineup. Guys who can hit 3-4-5, if you can get us all down there versus at the top, it sets us up to have a lot of good ABs late in the game.”


On 20-game hitting streak ending

“It had to end sometime.”

Nice having Fredi put you in there today to catch Santana…

“I think so, too. I think it was good. I thought it was the best lineup. It was good to go (Gattis play) today.”

On playing five in a row

“I think it was only four. (No, five). Five? Good to go. We’ve got an off day tomorrow, coming up we’ve got two night games and a day, and we’re in the American League, might DH some games. Who knows.”

On getting streak up to 20, nice round number

“Yeah, I guess. It was a good run.”

On Santana

“He battled with some guys in scoring position. He pitched good.”

On losing two to Nats this weekend after dominating them for quite a while

“We came to compete every day. I can’t think of something that they did better. Maybe their pitching has been a little bit better, but we just haven’t hit the ball as well as we did in the past.”