Gold Glover Simmons blames Monday’s loss on his error

Credit: Curtis Compton / AJC

Credit: Curtis Compton / AJC

Folks have come expect Andrelton Simmons to be nearly flawless and make both the standard and spectacular plays with ease. But the Braves’ Gold Glove shortstop misplayed grounders in the third and fifth innings of Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Cardinals, and the latter play proved costly.

Both looked like errors but were initially ruled base hits. One inning later, the official scorer changed the fifth-inning Mark Ellis single to a Simmons error, and two of three runs in the inning became unearned with the change.

“To me they’re all errors,” Simmons said. “I don’t know what the rules are, when it’s supposed to be an error or not. I know when I’m supposed to make a play. When I don’t, for me it’s an error.”

So he thought both plays Monday should have been ruled errors? “Oh, yeah,” he said.

The hit changed to an error was just the second error of the season for Simmons, who last season won the Gold Glove for National League shortstops and also the Rawlings Platinum Glove as the league’s best defensive player regardless of position.

Peter Bourjos had singled to lead off the inning before Ellis hit a grounder near second base that Simmons got in front of but had skip off his glove.

“I tried to hurry to see if I had a play at second,” he said, “and that might’ve taken my eye off the ball a little bit or made me come up a little early, instead of securing the ball and just going to first.”

After a sacrifice bunt, Matt Carpenter doubled to drive in both runners. Matt Holliday’s two-out single drove in the third run of the inning for a 3-0 lead on the way to handing the Braves their seventh consecutive loss.

“In a (seven) game losing streak it’s even worse,” Simmons said of his error. “If we were winning, if we were in first place still – we were till yesterday, right? – but if we were playing better and winning games, that (making an error) happens. But when it happens in a bad time, it hurts a little more.”

The Braves rallied from a 4-0 deficit with three runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but fell short after getting a runner to second with one out in the ninth inning. They were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, but manager Fredi Gonzalez and players said the team hit better than it had while getting swept over the weekend by San Francisco.

“We gave ourselves a chance to win the game,” Simmons said. “I think if it wasn’t for that error we would’ve won the game. If we played solid defense I think we would’ve had that game.

“We didn’t hit enough, apparently. But we strung together some hits, got some walks I felt like we were more into the game, like the guys were more focused up there. I mean, yeah, we’re not going to be perfect. We’re going to swing at a pitch high, we’re going to chase sliders in the dirt eventually. But I thought we did a better job than we did a couple of games before.”

Simmons said players talked before Monday’s game about trying to relax but also being more focused.

“You notice, you feel, OK, we lost six in a row. There’s a little urgency,” he said. “You don’t want to keep losing; it’s not comfortable, it’s not OK. So you want to win that game and you try to do a little too much sometimes.

“We talked (before game). Because it was a little obvious that everybody wanted to be the one to do something to make it change, instead of just playing together and, like, trusting the guy behind you. Taking your walks and stuff like that. That’s why I think that we did a better job.”