Escobar providing defensive highlights

Escobar providing defensive highlights

SAN FRANCISCO -- While Jason Heyward impressed with a three-hit game during Saturday night's 7-2 win over the Giants, the Braves were well aware of the fact that the game may have been decided when Yunel Escobar added to his long list of stellar defensive plays.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning, Escobar kept the game tied at 1 by ranging to his right and denying Eli Whiteside of a single that would have scored at least one run. The Braves shortstop backhanded Whiteside's grounder and made a strong throw that first baseman Troy Glaus easily picked out of the dirt.

"That play he made last night was a game-saver," Braves veteran utility player Eric Hinske said. "In my mind that was the turning point of the game. There aren't a whole lot of shortstops in the game that can make that play. I have seen him play a lot, but he's very special. He makes plays and can throw from certain angles that guys can't do. So he's extraordinary."

Since decreasing the number of aggressive mental blunders that plagued him during the first half of last year, Escobar has proven to be both an exciting and dependable shortstop. Since committing 11 errors in the first 66 games he played last year, he has been charged with just three more in the 79 games that have followed.

"We're so lucky to have him on our team to be our shortstop and make plays that I think he has no chance to get to," Braves catcher Brian McCann said. "It's every night, too. He brings his glove to the field every single night. Those guys are so hard to find."