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.
"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."
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."