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Nats cruise following four-run first inning

Robinson's two-run shot off Miller caps key frame

ATLANTA -- Before Tuesday night's series-opening 6-1 win against the Braves, Nationals manager Matt Williams talked about the importance of executing and making the most of at-bats against Shelby Miller.

His team responded as well as he could have hoped, as Washington drove in four runs in the first frame against the right-handed starter, thanks to RBI hits from Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos and a two-run home run from Clint Robinson. Thanks to the offensive spark in the first, the Nationals would cruise to an easy victory.

Video: [email protected]: Espinosa drives in Span on double off Miller

"He was a little off in that first inning with his command a little bit," Robinson said, "so I think he left some pitches in the zone more than he'd like to."

After fouling off a 94-mph, two-seam fastball with a full count and two outs, Robinson connected on a 79-mph curveball up in the zone, and placed it in the right-field seats to spot Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann four runs after just one inning.

"I was just trying to battle," Robinson said. "I looked at the pitch I hit out, it was a curveball, it was a good pitch. Not really a pitch you see hit out very often, but sometimes you just get lucky and they go."

Video: [email protected]: Ramos knocks in Espinosa on single to center

The home run was the first that Miller had allowed in 26 innings, dating back to a May 28 home run by Brandon Belt. It was just the second time this season that a team had scored off Miller in the first inning -- the Brewers did it on May 23.

While Miller managed a season-high 10 strikeouts against Washington, the inning and the start were both his worst of the year, as he allowed a season-high five runs. Miller entered the game with a 1.94 ERA and left with a 2.20 ERA.

The Nationals weren't trying to do anything special at the plate, according to Robinson, just trying to find a good pitch to hit and then doing something with it.

"He's got great stuff, he's going to come at you with a lot of fastballs and we just did a good job of battling with him," Robinson said. "He's got a fastball that will cut, sink, be straight you never really know what kind of fastball's coming.

"They're all coming in the mid-90s, so right there I'm trying to just fight it off the best I can, try and get something that I can handle and do some damage with. And I got lucky enough and I did."

Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for
Read More: Washington Nationals, Clint Robinson, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos