Recap: Braves win their sixth straight game behind a strong start from Smith-Shawver

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

The Atlanta Braves aren't new to calling up young players and seeing them succeed immediately. That was the case again as A.J. Smith-Shawver took the mound for his first career start on Friday night. He'd already impressed in his first bullpen appearance in Arizona where he tossed 2.1 innings allowing no runs on no hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

Things started a little shaky as the Nationals were able to get some baserunners on with soft contact and a rare throwing error from Sean Murphy allowed Lane Thomas to reach third which led to the Nationals scoring the first run of the game.

The Braves did their best to battle back in the bottom of the first but with runners on second and third, were unable to score any runs. They continue to struggle with driving in runs with runners in scoring position. However, they were able to tie things up during the bottom of the second. Albies reached with a lead-off walk and was able to advance to second and third due to two wild pitches from Nats starter, Josiah Gray.

Albies then scored on a groundout by Orlando Arcia and that was all Atlanta could do in the inning. A.J. Smith-Shawver settled in after that shaky first inning and held the Nationals at bay for 5.1 innings. He almost got through six but Atlanta was unable to turn a double play to give him two outs in the sixth inning. It's likely Snit would have allowed him the chance to finish the inning had he gotten there.

Regardless, Smith-Shawver finished his first career start with 5.1 innings pitched allowing just two runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts. It was impressive to see him pitch so well considering this was his first start. He kept his composure well throughout the game and his pitches played well.

The Braves made Josiah Gray work but just could not seem to get anything to go their way with runners in scoring position. Gray allowed one run on two hits with four walks and six strikeouts. He simply found a way to escape out of the jams he found himself in and left things to the Washington bullpen.

The Atlanta offense struggled to get anything going until the bottom of the eighth where they had runners on second and third with one out. Marcell Ozuna grounded out to first base to drive in Sam Hilliard who was pinch running for Sean Murphy and tie things up 2-2. Orlando Arcia then drove in the go-ahead run with a single up the middle.

Raisel Iglesias came in next and shut things down to give the Braves their fifth consecutive come-from-behind win. Iglesias has been incredible in his last two outings as he has not messed around and went right after hitters. He looked like the lockdown closer many fans were hoping he would be.

While it is exciting to see late-inning comebacks, it would be nice to have some games where they don't have to do that. However, this shows just how good this team is and the mindset they carry.
No matter the opponent or score, they are going to give you their best and fight until the last out.