Eternal Baseball – Game #01 – Opening Day – The Washington Nationals at the Atlanta Braves


Eternal Baseball Press

ATLANTA – Hugh Duffy’s bat and Greg Maddux’s mastery were more than the Nationals could handle, as the Braves powered their way to a 9-3 victory on Opening Day.

A primetime matchup of elite starters saw Washington’s Max Scherzer and Atlanta’s Greg Maddux live up to expectations for four innings, until the Nationals defense sputtered and the Braves took advantage. Atlanta third baseman Eddie Mathews’ second-inning solo homer was the only scoring until the bottom of the fifth inning. Joe Torre sturck out to start the frame, but was followed by back-to-back singles from Herman Long and Ozzie Albies. Greg Maddux’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third base with two out.

Hugh Duffy’s sharp grounder was backhanded by Nationals shortstop Trea Turner, but his throw to first skipped past Nick Johnson and into the dugout, allowing two runs to score and Duffy to advance to second base. Chipper Jones tapped a weak grounder to second baseman Daniel Murphy, but his throw sailed wide of Johnson, allowing Duffy to score and Jones to scamper to second base. Eddie Mathews followed with a double off the wall in right-center and Atlanta had stretched their lead to 5-0.

Washington got a run back in the sixth inning off a Juan Soto RBI single, but Atlanta answered in the bottom of the inning. Joe Torre smashed a double down the left field line and scored standing up when Ozzie Albies delivered a double of his own. With a 6-1 lead, Bobby Cox pinch hit for Maddux and Fred McGriff worked an eight-pitch at-bat for a walk. Duffy drilled a liner drive to the gap in right-center and the ball skipped to the wall, stopping right at the base of it. Albies and McGriff scored easily and Duffy’s headfirst slide beat Bryce Harper’s throw home for a three-run inside-the-park home run that pushed the Braves’ lead to 9-1 and chased Scherzer from the game.

Tom Glavine relieved Maddux and provided the lone fireworks the rest of the way. He walked Washington’s Brian Schneider and pinch-hitter Danny Espinosa on close pitches in a scoreless seventh inning. Glavine induced an inning-ending double play but was visibly frustrated as he walked off the mound. He recorded two quick outs to start the eighth inning, before Herman Long misplayed Juan Soto’s grounder for an error.

Glavine walked Trea Turner on another full count close pitch and shouted in frustration. Home plate umpire Tim Brett immediately ejected Glavine, raising the ire of the already-frustrated Atlanta pitcher. Joe Torre managed to restrain his seething pitcher, but enough words were said that a suspension remains a possibility.

Gene Garber took the mound and immediately surrendered a two-run double to Jayson Werth before an intentional walk set up Brian Schneider’s inning-ending double play. John Clarkson pitched the ninth inning to close out Atlanta’s 9-3 win.

Greg Maddux (1-0) earned the win behind six innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts. Max Scherzer (0-1) took the loss with a line that’s partly due to his team’s sloppy defense – 5.2 innings pitched, nine runs (seven of them earned) with two walks and eight strikeouts. Tom Glavine couldn’t hold his temper, but managed to earn a hold in the game.

We’ll see if cooler heads prevail tomorrow night when Vic Willis takes the mound for the Braves against Washington’s Jordan Zimmerman. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM EST from SunTrust Park.

Photo Credit: Braves – Indians (stadium) by Stephen Rahn.



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