The Braves had a forgettable bottom of the third inning on Tuesday night against the Angels. Starter Bartolo Colon and his defense helped the Angels score nine runs — the only runs they would score — to take a 9-2 lead.
The nightmare started when Juan Graterol singled up the middle after shortstop Dansby Swanson whiffed on a dive attempt. After Eric Young, Jr. hit into a fielder’s choice, Colon made a pickoff throw to first base with Kole Calhoun batting. First baseman Matt Adams somehow missed the throw and the ball trickled into foul territory. Thankfully for the Braves, Young did not advance.
Calhoun hit a weak grounder into the shift on the right side. Second baseman Jace Peterson had to go to his right a bit and wound up juggling the ball trying to flip the ball to Swanson, allowing both runners to reach safely. Albert Pujols then memorably crushed his 599th career home run, a three-run shot to left field to put the Angels up 3-2.
After Luis Valbuena singled, former Brave Andrelton Simmons hit what should’ve been an easy 6-3 putout to Swanson, but Swanson once again whiffed making the grab. Valbuena went to third and Simmons went to second on the error. Following that, Ben Revere tapped a weak grounder to Adams, who attempted to throw home to get Valbuena, but he had trouble with the transfer and no outs were recorded. Cliff Pennington then hit a weak tapper back to Colon on the mound. Colon looked at second, turned around and slipped on the mound dirt. He whipped the ball home across his body for the tag play on Simmons but he was too late and all Angels were safe, pushing the lead to 5-2.
Danny Espinosa finally made solid contact, hitting a line drive to center field, scoring Revere and moving Pennington to third. Graterol came back up and hit another tapper back to Colon, who threw to Peterson on second base in an attempt to turn an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play. Colon’s throw was low and Peterson couldn’t make the scoop, so the ball trickled into center field. Pennington scored and Espinosa advanced to third. Young returned to the dish and laid down a bunt down the first base line. Adams fielded the ball, but Peterson was late covering and Adams’ flip was late anyway. Espinosa scored and the Angels had runners on first and second with one out. Calhoun then singled to left, plating the Angels’ ninth run of the inning and knocking Colon out of the game. Luke Jackson came in and Pujols was intentionally walked. Valbuena ended the inning when he lined into an inning-ending 4-6 double play.
Whew. Now imagine all of that set to Yakety Sax. Justin Russo on Twitter did just that:
For those keeping score at home, only five of the 14 Angel batters who came to the plate that inning put the ball into the outfield without an assist from the Braves’ defense. 10 of those batters hit ground balls, one hit a fly ball, two hit line drives, and one walked. The Atlanta defense committed three errors and two other Angel batters reached on a fielder’s choice in which no outs were recorded.
There have likely been worse embarrassing defensive innings, but the Braves’ third inning on Tuesday ranks up there.