Huge error sinks Braves

Conrad's third miscue spoils Atlanta's rally

ATLANTA --- Brooks Conrad stood near second base, all alone. He didn't dare go near Braves manager Bobby Cox, standing on the mound making a pitching change. Finally, teammate Derrek Lee wandered over, giving Conrad a pat on the back.

Nothing helped. All Conrad could do was bend over in anguish.

"I wish I could just dig a hole," he said, "and sleep in it."

The Braves were within one out of taking control of the National League Division Series, but a 30-year-old journeyman infielder who wouldn't have been playing if not for season-ending injuries to Chipper Jones and Martin Prado simply couldn't catch the ball Sunday.

Conrad made three errors, the last of them on a two-out grounder in the ninth inning that gave the San Francisco Giants a 3-2 victory over Atlanta.

"It was completely embarrassing," said Conrad, who has made eight errors in the past seven games going back to the regular season. "Once again, I feel like I let everyone down."

He bobbled a grounder in the first, but that one didn't hurt. He dropped a popup the next inning, allowing an unearned run to score. Finally, Buster Posey's hard grounder skidded under Conrad's glove, bringing home the run that capped San Francisco's two-run ninth.

"I thought he would make the play," Posey said. "I wouldn't wish that on anybody."

Former Augusta GreenJacket Brian Wilson shut down the Braves in the ninth to give the Giants a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series in which all three games have been decided by one run.

San Francisco can close it out tonight. For Conrad, the memories of this one will linger for a lifetime. He tied a postseason record for errors in a game and became the fourth second baseman to make three, according to STATS LLC.

Those blunders might just speed up the retirement of Cox, whose long managing career ends as soon as Atlanta's season is done.

"We had this one won," Cox said. "We can win games and we can compete against anybody. But we can't afford to make mistakes."

Wagner replaced on roster

The Braves replaced injured closer Billy Wagner on their playoff roster with another veteran, Takashi Saito.

Wagner injured his left oblique on a fielding play in the 10th inning of Friday night's 5-4 victory over San Francisco.

By replacing Wagner before Game 3 on Sunday, the Braves will be without the left-hander for the remainder of the division series and, if they advance, the National League Championship Series.

Wagner would be eligible if the Braves play in the World Series.

-- Associated Press

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