To 8 2⁄3 innings tonight it was the Braves’ young battery of Tucker Davidson and William Contreras that was the bright start to tonight’s match. However, it was another young player in the second dugout who stole the spotlight in the Phillies’ last strike that resulted in a heartbreaking loss for the Braves.
Davidson actually experienced a bit of a rocky start. After the Braves went in order at the top of the first inning against Zach Eflin, Davidson worked around a one out single and went on to keep the Phillies away from the scoreboard. Atlanta then decided to go to work at the top of the second inning, as a mistake, go and single loaded the bases with no outs. Unfortunately, two basic runs and a strike followed, and the Braves could not make the most of an ideal opportunity early in the game.
Davidson allowed two more singles at the bottom of the second, but he once again worked unscathed out of trouble. After lots of early activities, both Eflin and Davidson found their grooves. In the third inning, Eflin worked around a single, while Davidson did not let an error from Austin Riley hurt. Both pitchers worked about a double from the opposition in their half of the fourth inning. In the fifth, Eflin used a double play to put the Braves down in order, while Davidson followed with a 1
At the top of the sixth inning, the Braves finally broke through. Although a double play from Riley’s play resulted in two quick outs, Dansby Swanson, Abraham Almonte and William Contreras each shot and Swanson scored as a result to make it 1-0. It was Contrera’s third hit of the game and he delivered once again in a clutch situation. He has certainly been a true asset to the offense instead of the wounded Travis d’Arnaud.
Although he gave high to Andrew MuCutchen, Davidson once again retired with the Phillies to end his night in the sixth inning. Over six innings, Davidson only needed 90 spots to sail in a unique performance, allowing only four hits, zero runs, one walk and producing four strikes. Of those 90 seats, 59 were strikes. In just his fourth career appearance, Davidson was truly impressive and probably earned himself an extended look in Braves rotation.
Unfortunately, the Braves could not support him with a victory.
Ranger Suarez and Tyler Matzek did their job in the seventh inning as none of the offenses reached base. Suarez again did his job at the top of the eighth inning, while Chris Martin threw a perfect bottom of the eighth for the Braves. Suarez threw a third perfect inning at the top of the ninth and delimited a big effort to keep the score 1-0 in favor of the Braves. Will Smith took the mound at the bottom of the ninth inning and immediately pulled retired Rhys Hoskins on strike.
After McCutchen left, Brad Miller popped next to the other out. Luke Williams then went on the record. Williams was called up yesterday and made his major league debut as a knife hitter last night and got his first start tonight. After already delivering a double earlier in the game, Williams once again delivered with a two-run home run from Smith that resulted in a final at-bat walk-off victory for the Phillies with the score 2-1.
A dominant performance from Davidson will certainly have value going forward, but a devastating loss is obviously the most important pick-up tonight. The Braves are now 0-5 in games this season as they try to get over .500. The key is not to let the impact of this loss linger beyond tonight as the Braves have little room for error in a critical part of the season. Hopefully, with an early start tomorrow, they will be ready to win a victory to win the series.