It was ugly.

The Nats scored four runs in the first inning and coasted to a 6-1 victory. The Braves had a couple of bright spots and a home run. Otherwise it was all Washington. Here’s how it went.

Denard Span singled to start the game, and Danny Espinosa doubled him home. Shelby Miller got Yunel Escobar on a ground out and struck out Bryce Harper. Things were looking up, but appearances deceive. Wilson Ramos singled in Espinosa, and Clint Robinson crushed a two-run home run. Ian Desmond struck out, and the top of the first ended with the Nats up four-zip.

A. J. Pierzynski is an offensive catcher. Every time he dons the gear, it offends baseball fans everywhere. In the third the Braves caught a runner trying to score from third base in a well-executed pickle, but A. J. threw the ball into left field allowing the Nats’ fifth run to score. In the fifth, A. J. botched a Miller pitch for a passed ball. He did double his first time up, however.

Shelby pitched well after the first. He finished five innings, surrendering only the four first inning earned runs and Pierzynski’s gift unearned run. Miller gave up nine hits, four in the first and walked two (one intentional). He also struck out ten, a season high. Then he gave way to the Braves bright spots.

Two nine-year minor league veterans made their major league debuts for the Braves tonight in relief of Miller. Jake Brigham sparkled. He pitched three scoreless innings, allowed one hit, walked one and fanned four. Welcome to the Bigs, Jake. You did good.

Brigham was followed by fellow debutant Ryan Kelly. You’ve got to love the name, although the Irish luck was a little late in arriving. Kelly allowed hits to the first two batters he faced, then got Wilson Ramos to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. Unfortunately a run scored, but this horse had been stolen when Miller left the barn door open in the first.

Juan Uribe spoiled the shutout bid in the ninth by homering off — guess who — David Carpenter.

Here are some things I noticed. They are my opinions only and in no way, shape or form constitute the viewpoint of Braves Journal or Captain Hook. AARgh!

The Nationals are a better team than the Braves. We’ll be lucky to avoid getting swept. With our offense, we’ll likely be lucky just to score.

Like him or not (and Joe Simpson doesn’t), Bryce Harper is an excellent baseball player. Likewise, Jordan Zimmermann’s a pretty good pitcher.

The Nationals played better defense tonight than the Braves, but our shortstop is better than their shortstop.

Freddie Freeman’s wrist is not improving, and he is unlikely to come off the Disabled List when eligible. Great.

The Braves did not quit. Shelby Miller certainly did not. AJP probably didn’t either; but he’s so inept, it’s hard to tell.

You lose some. Then you lose some more.

It’s going to be a long season.