It did not take the Nationals long to extend their dominance of the Braves and halt the struggles they have had against Shelby Miller. A four-run first inning provided Jordan Zimmerman more than enough support as he led Washington to a 6-1 win on Tuesday night at Turner Field.
While Miller surrendered a season-high five runs — four earned — over five innings, Zimmerman scattered five hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings. The Nationals right-hander pitched around A.J. Pierzynski’s second-inning leadoff double on the way to extending his consecutive scoreless innings streak against the Braves to 15 2/3 innings.
Clint Robinson’s two-run homer highlighted the four-run first inning recorded against Miller, who had produced a 0.86 ERA over the only five previous starts made against Washington. The Nationals added an unearned run in the third inning and cruised toward their ninth consecutive win over the Braves.
Wilson Ramos and Clint Robinson added a pair of runs in the first just when it seemed like Miller was about to escape the inning with limited damage. Ramos’ two-out single drove in Espinosa, and Robinson’s two-run homer capped the inning — it was the first home run off of Miller since Brandon Belt’s on May 28.
Miller had surrendered a first-inning hit in just two of his previous 15 starts this year. But by the time he’d recorded his third out, he had already allowed more first-inning hits on Tuesday (four) than he previously had all season (three). The right-hander notched a season-high 10 strikeouts and surrendered just the one unearned run after the first inning. His ERA jumped from 1.94 to 2.20.
After driving in the game’s first run in the first inning with a double, second baseman Danny Espinosa stayed hot at the plate. He singled and scored again in the third inning, and doubled once again in the sixth. Espinosa entered Tuesday with hitting .251, but after going 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI, he pushed that up to .259 .
Jake Brigham completed three scoreless innings of relief while experiencing the Major League debut he had dreamed about since beginning his professional career in 2006. The 27-year-old right-hander was with Double-A Mississippi less than two weeks ago. But his recent success earned him a chance to become Atlanta’s latest long reliever.
The Nationals’ nine-game win streak against the Braves dates back to April 28, when they erased a nine-run deficit and won courtesy of Dan Uggla’s ninth-inning homer. Going back to the fifth inning of that game, Washington has outscored Atlanta 64-21.
Atlanta and Washington will meet for Game 2 in this series at Turner Field at 6:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday night. Thunder Radio will bring you the broadcast of that game beginning at 6:00 PM.