After the disappointing series loss the Mets last series, it was important for the Braves to immediately bounce back against the worst team in the National League. And after three somewhat substandard outings from the Braves rotation in that Mets’ series, it was important for Kyle Wright to come out and re-establish dominance on the mound. The Braves accomplished both Thursday night.
Offensively, the night started with fireworks. Ronald Acuna Jr led off the game with a walk and stolen base. Then Dansby Swanson launched a 2-2 hanging change-up down the left-field line for a 2-run homer, and give the Braves an early 2-0 lead and Swanson his 15th homer of the season
The Nationals spent the next two innings tying game with a Josh Bell solo homer in the first and a Maikel Franco RBI groundout in the second. Wright did a nice job limiting the damage to just one run in that second inning after three consecutive singles to start the inning loaded the bases with no one out.
The game moved into a mini pitcher’s duel between Wright and former Brave Anibal Sanchez after that, as both guys put up zeros the next two innings.
In the fifth inning, the Braves started the frame with consecutive singles from Travis d’Arnaud and Marcell Ozuna to give them two on, no one out. After Robinson Cano grounded into a double play, the Braves had their second 2-run homer of the night as Michael Harris II capped a 10-pitch at-bat with a rocket to right-center field for his eighth home run of the season and give Atlanta a 4-2 lead.
Harris wasn’t done contributing for the night as the defensive play of the game happened the next half inning. After a groundout to start the frame, the Nationals then stacked three consecutive singles from the first three hitters in their order, the last one by Juan Soto, and Luis Garcia decided he was going to score on it. The problem for Garcia is that the ball by Soto was hit to center-field where Michael Harris II hangs out. Harris unleashed a 94 mph throw flat-footed from left-center field and got Garcia at the plate just before he touched safely, and kept the score at 4-2.
The Braves offense did what they do the next inning, and that’s hit a homer. This time is Matt Olson belting his 16th homer of the season, a solo shot to straightaway left field, and gave the Braves a 5-2 lead. It was the third consecutive game with a homer for the Braves’ first baseman.
Kyle Wright finished the night in dominating fashion, setting down the last 6 hitters in order in the sixth and seventh, striking out four of the six. He finished the night with a final line of 7 innings pitched, 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk and 4 strikeouts and lowering his season ERA to 2.95.
The Braves’ bullpen didn’t exactly slam the door as both AJ Minter and Kenley Jansen gave up 2 hits and 1 earned run their respective innings of work, allowing the Nationals to bring the winning run to the plate with 2 out in the ninth in Josh Bell. But Jansen buckled down and struck Bell out and the took game one of the 4-game series 5-4.
Braves improved to 54-37 on the season, while the Nationals fell to 30-61. Atlanta will look to continue their dominance over Washington this season in game 2 of the series with Ian Anderson taking on Patrick Corbin Friday night. Game is a 6:05 ET start.