Davey Martinez’s club had a 5-0 lead after two and a 6-4 lead after five last night, but Will Harris gave up a game-tying two-run home run by Freddie Freeman in the top of the 7th, and Dansby Swanson hit a solo shot off Tanner Rainey in the 8th to put the Atlanta Braves up for good in the series opener in Washington, D.C.’s Nationals Park.
“That’s a tough one,” Martinez said in his post game Zoom call. “Tough loss. We had the right guys in there, we had our guys in there 7-8-9, we just couldn’t get it done tonight.”
The third-year skipper said the damage Braves’ hitters did came on pitches that missed spots or were located in hot spots for the individual batters.
“When you get hitters like that and they’re hot — and you look where they’re hitting the ball and doing their damage, you got to try to stay away from there,” Martinez explained, which he probably shouldn’t have to.
“Because right now they’re not missing. They’re hitting the ball and hitting the ball hard. So, we just got to make better pitches in certain situations.”
Adam Eaton, whose two-run home run in the second put the home team up by five, said he thought the Nationals could take advantage of the fact that the Braves played a 4 hr, 14 min game on Sunday night and didn’t arrive in D.C. until the wee hours of the morning.
“They’re a good team,” the 31-year-old outfielder said. “I think they got in at 5:00 AM tonight and we thought we could jump on them early and they might quit, but they didn’t. They kept battling back, and like I said, they’re a good team. So we’ll come back tomorrow and compete.”
That’s not to say they were taking anything for granted when they got an early lead, even if five runs were a nice start.
“I don’t think five runs is ever safe in this league,” Eaton explained. “I feel like the hitters just keep on coming, especially a team that we’re facing in the Braves. Like I said, you think they would quit getting in so late at night, but like I said, they continued to battle back and they get such timely hits, it hurts my head to think about it, it’s crazy. They need a hit and they get it.”
Atlanta’s hitters connected for 12 home runs in the four-game set in Truist Park last weekend and added eight more in three games against the Miami Marlins, with four more last night in the nation’s capital, which [checks math] is a lot.
“When you’re facing good hitters like that,” Martinez said, “your pitch execution needs to be spot-on. You can’t miss.
“You’re going to pay the price for mistakes, and you saw that tonight.”
Will Erick Fedde be able to keep the Braves in the yard ... after giving up three in 3 2⁄3 IP last weekend in Atlanta?