ATLANTA -- Reed Johnson spent quite a few years here at Turner Field with the Braves. But in the ninth inning Monday night, the veteran Marlins outfielder looked a little lost on the base paths.
With nobody out and Johnson standing at second base, Adeiny Hechavarria at first, and Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel on the mound, Derek Dietrich sent a rocket shot into the gap in left field. Instead of racing for home, Johnson's first instinct was to run back to second. The hesitation slowed Hechavarria down, and eventually cost the Marlins the go-ahead run in the ninth when Kimbrel came back to strike out Jeff Baker, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
"I feel terrible -- cost us the game right there," Johnson said. "If we score a run, we're in a totally different situation. Cishek comes in and it's probably game over. Just did not get a good read.
"I knew the outfield was playing deep in that situation, ball goes off the bat and the same time I look pretty silly if I don't tag up and advance in that situation as well. That's kind of what I was more concerned with. But if I had to do it over again obviously I would just take off in that situation. And Hech probably gets sent right there. Maybe he doesn't."
Johnson said he didn't even see how close Hechavarria actually got to him on the basepaths. For a moment as both ran to third, it looked like the Marlins shortstop was about two strides away.
"I didn't even see him, didn't know where he was. I was just picking up the outfielder," Johnson said. "It was directly over my head. I knew they were playing deep from checking the outfield. Unfortunately you look at it on replay and it was clearly over his head. I wish I would have gotten a better read. It would have been a different result.
"When you're in the infield you know the ball's hit good. But it's not the same angle from different parts of the field when it's hit directly over your head. I knew it was hit good. I just wish I would have gotten a better read. It probably would be a different result."
The Marlins of course still blew a golden opportunity after that when Kimbrel struckout the next three batters he face.
"At the end of the day we still had second and third with nobody out," skipper Mike Redmond said. "We had the middle of our order with one out. Like I said, if we're going to win games on the road we have to take advantage of opportunities and we didn't do that today. That's too bad because we really should have won that game."