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Juan Soto hits first MLB home run* to lead Nationals to 5-3 win over Yankees: Don’t ask...

* = Juan Soto’s first MLB home run was his third vs the Yankees in a week, and the sixth of his career. Nationals win, 5-3.

Screencap via @Nationals on the Twitter.

This half of today’s sort-of-doubleheader started with the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, as the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees resumed play after the game was suspended by rain back on May 15th. Juan Soto, who wasn’t in the majors at that point, and had hit two home runs in one game last week in Yankee Stadium and five total in the majors before tonight, connected for what is technically his first major league homer in the bottom of the sixth, a two-run blast that cleared the second deck in right.

Soto’s two-run home run, which traveled 433 ft, lifted the Nationals to a 5-3 win.

[ed. note - “What follows is the report from the original game, so please note that all talk of stats/standings is based on what was happening on May 15th, outside of where we’ve been updating things to cover tonight’s conclusion of the game.”]

GIO vs NYY: Gio Gonzalez took on the Yankees tonight in Nationals Park with a three-start unbeaten streak going, over which the left-hander was (2-0) with a 1.00 ERA, seven walks, 21 Ks, and a .200/.274/.277 line against in 18 innings pitched.

Gonzalez got himself in trouble early with a two-out walk and double in the first putting runners on first and third, but a weak grounder to second base by Didi Gregorius left opposing hitters 4 for 42 in at bats with runners in scoring position against the Nationals’ left-hander this season (.095).

Back-to-back hits in the Yankees’ second, a single to center by Tyler Austin and a double by Miguel Andujar, put runners on second and third with no one out, after the Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but back-to-back-to-backs Ks left the runners on base and left opposing hitters 4 for 45 w/ RISP vs Gonzalez in 2018.

Andrew Stevenson (who traveled 90+ feet) and Matt Adams collided (E:8) on a soft fly to left by Didi Gregorius and let it drop in in the first at bat of the fourth. Gregorius took second on the (mis)play, and Tyler Austin followed with a two-run home run to right on a 3-2 curve, 3-2 Nationals at that point. Austin’s 6th. (5 for 46, 1st HR w/ RISP vs Gio in 2018).

A leadoff walk to Aaron Judge and a bloop single to right by Giancarlo Stanton put two on with no one out in the Yankees’ fifth, and Gonzalez was up to 90 pitches when he went full against Gary Sanchez and walked the Yankees’ catcher to load’em up again.

Gregorius sent a ground ball to first and Mark Reynolds threw home for the first out of the frame, but Tyler Austin hit a sac fly to center to tie it up at 3-3. That’s all the Yankees got in what ended up a 34-pitch inning that left Gonzalez at 111 total and ended his outing.

Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 111P, 65 S, 7/3 GO/FO.

Tanaka in D.C.: Yankees’ right-hander Masahiro Tanaka was unbeaten in four starts heading into tonight’s series opener with the Nationals, going (2-0) during that stretch with a 3.38 ERA, six walks, 22 Ks, and a .207/.274/.333 line against over 24 innings pitched.

On the road this season, the 29-year-old was (3-0) with a 4.30 ERA in four starts and 23 IP outside of NY in 2018.

He was down 1-0 early after Anthony Rendon sent a 1-1 sinker to left for a line drive home run with two down in the bottom of the first. Rendon’s 4th of ‘18.

Howie Kendrick doubled to left on an 0-1 slider in the first at bat of the Nats’ second, and one out later, scored on an RBI single by Andrew Stevenson, who came around from first when Pedro Severino lined an RBI double into the left-center gap in the next at bat, 3-0.

With the score tied at 3-3, Tanaka came out for another inning of work in the fifth, having retired eight straight after Severino’s RBI double in the second, and he was up to 11 after retiring the Nationals in order.

Masahiro Tanaka’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 61 P, 40 S, 6/3 GO/FO.

#RENDONISREADY: Anthony Rendon acknowledged that he could use a day off when Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez asked him before Sunday’s finale in Arizona. Rendon had played in eight straight since coming off the DL earlier this month.

He returned to the lineup against the Yankees tonight, and homered in his first at bat, sending a 1-1 sinker into the left field seats for his 4th HR of the season and a 1-0 lead.

With the homer, Rendon had hits in 18 of the 23 games played this season, and three HRs in his last nine games and 36 plate appearances, after he hit one in his 62 PAs in 14 G in April.

Giancarlo’s Back: New York’s Yankees, (28-12), started the two-game set in D.C. in 1st place in the AL East, a 0.5-game ahead of the Boston Red Sox after winning 8 of their last 10, and 19 of their last 22 games.

Over that 22-game stretch, notorious Nationals-killer and former Miami Marlin Giancarlo Stanton was 23 for 82 (.280/.362/.573) with six doubles and six HRs.

Stanton returned to Nationals Park tonight, where he’d put up a .287/.366/.651 line with 16 doubles and 20 HRs in 55 games and 238 plate appearances during his time with the Fish.

Against tonight’s starter Gio Gonzalez, however, Stanton was just 6 for 31 (.194 AVG) with no home runs, which, the Yankees noted, is Stanton’s, “... seventh-most [at bats] vs any pitcher in his career, and his most vs any pitcher off whom he has not hit a HR.”

In Stanton’s first game against the Nationals as a Yankee, he walked in his first trip to the plate when Gonzalez missed with a 3-1 curve outside. Stanton grounded into a 4-6-3 DP after a leadoff walk to Aaron Judge in the third, 0 for 1, BB.

Stanton’s pop to short right in the fifth found its way to the outfield grass after Gonzalez walked Aaron Judge to start the frame. 1 for 2, BB.

BULLPEN ACTION: Wander Suero took over for the Nats in the sixth, and worked around a HBP for a scoreless, 13-pitch frame ... then the rain came, and the game was suspended...

[one month passes]

Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees in the bottom of the sixth inning and gave up a one-out single by Anthony Rendon and a two-run bomb by Juan Soto that traveled 433 ft to right field and cleared the second deck, landing on the concourse above the right field pen, 5-3 Nationals. Soto’s 1st/6th home run.

A little over a month after he first took the mound against the Yankees, Suero returned to the mound with a 5-3 lead, and gave up a one-out double before he was lifted in favor of left-hander Sammy Solis, who got an inning-ending double play out of Didi Gregorius on a liner to left-center that Gary Sanchez, who doubled off Suero, didn’t think Juan Soto would get to. 6-3 DP.

After Chasen Shreve threw a scoreless bottom of the seventh, Ryan Madson worked around a misplay in left by Soto and a two-out single for scoreless, 11-pitch eighth. Still 5-3 Nats.

Sean Doolittle took the mound in the ninth, after a scoreless top of the inning from Yankees’ righty Adam Warren, and retired the side in order.


Final Score: 5-3 Nationals

Nationals now 25-18/38-31