Sure, the Braves nearly staged an incredible ninth-inning comeback against the Phillies in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday afternoon at Truist Park. But a big rally was only needed because they had been so ineffective during most of the first eight innings of what ended as a 7-6 loss.
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“You’ve just got to play well,” Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson said. “I don’t think today we played particularly our best. We did in moments, but not for nine innings. We gave ourselves a chance at the end, but we weren’t able to come through.”
Matt Olson brought the Braves within a run with his three-run homer off Zach Eflin with one out in the ninth. But Nick Castellanos quieted the rally with a diving grab of a William Contreras sinking liner to right three pitches later, and the Phillies drew first blood in this best-of-five series.
It was a tough day all around for the Braves. Their ace, Max Fried, appeared to still be affected by a flu bug which bit him during the regular season’s final week, and one of the game’s most opportunistic offenses squandered far too many early opportunities. Atlanta stranded nine runners, including seven through the first four innings.
“Playoff baseball, every pitch is super intense,” Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “Not only for us, but for them too, and they were ready to play. And like I said, they executed their game plan brilliantly and got the win today.”