Shuster struggles in first inning, Braves bats go quiet in 4-1 loss to Nationals

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The Braves couldn't overcome a big first inning from Washington, dropping their first game of the 2023 season, 4-1.

Jared Shuster took the loss in his major league debut, with MacKenzie Gore picking up his first win as a Washington National.

Shuster struggled to open the game, allowing six straight Washington batters to reach base to open the afternoon. Lane Thomas and Joey Meneses started things off with back to back singles, before Jeimer Candelario drew a walk to load the bases. Dominic Smith put the Nats in front next with a one-run single. Shuster then walked Keibert Ruiz and Alex Call to allow two more runs to score. Luis García capped the scoring in the opening frame with a sacrifice fly.

The 24-year old lefty did settle in after the rough first inning, allowing just three hits over the next 3.2 innings, and no runs.

Offensively, the Braves could never get into a rhythm, going down 1-2-3 in five times on Sunday, and rolling into a double play three times. The only run came in the 4th inning with Travis d'Arnaud dropping an RBI single into center field during the 4th inning. Atlanta managed just four hits on the day.

The top three in Atlanta's lineup combined for a 1-9 performance at the plate with five strikeouts and three walks, with Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson going hitless on the afternoon.

Of the notable Braves still searching for their first hit of the new campaign, Sean Murphy went 0-2 with a walk in the loss. However, he did throw out his first baserunner when Luis García attempted to steal second early in the game.

Braves are off to St. Louis for a three-game series with the Cardinals starting on Monday night. Charlie Morton will make his first start of the 2023 season.