Alex Bregman teed off on a 94 MPH 2-0 fastball that crept over the plate and ended up pretty much middle-middle, taking Stephen Strasburg deep to left field for a solo home run that put Houston up 2-1 in the bottom of the first in Game 6 of the World Series last night in Minute Maid Park.
The Astros’ third baseman watched it a little too long, and then carried his bat with him as he ran up the line toward first before dropping it on the infield dirt past first base, at the feet of first base coach Don Kelly in a botched handoff as he rounded the bag.
Four innings later, Adam Eaton and Juan Soto both hit balls out off of Justin Verlander, with Eaton’s tying it at 2-2, before Soto’s put the Nats on top for good in what ended up a 7-2 win which forced a Game 7 tonight in Houston.
Soto, the 21-year-old, shuffle-stepping, cup-adjusting, hard-hitting, second-year slugger, watched it go out, then took his bat with him as he ran to first to start his trot.
Soto got a fastball up and in and he turned it around, hitting it 413 feet to right field. His bat ended up in the grass in front of Tim Bogar, the Nationals’ first base coach.
Neither manager was happy with their players when they talked to reporters after the game.
“Would you prefer that Alex Bregman not carry his bat past first base?” a reporter asked A.J Hinch.
“Yeah, he shouldn’t carry the bat past first base. Soto shouldn’t carry it to first base, either.”
“We didn’t like it,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said of Bregman’s bat carry. “And the fact that Soto did it, I’ll be quite honest with you, I didn’t like it when he did it, as well. It’s a conversation I’ll have with Juan. That’s not who we are. I mean, if [Bregman] feels like he wants to carry the bat all the way to first base, then that’s him.
“But I don’t like when our guys do it. I don’t like the celebration outside the dugout. I’ve said that before. That’s just not who we are.”
The Nationals are more of a dance in the dugout kind of club.
Bregman apologized for his actions after the game.
“I just let my emotions get the best of me,” the 25-year-old infielder said. “And it’s not how I was raised to play the game, and I just let my emotions get the best of me. I’m sorry for doing that. It was my fault and I apologize for doing it, I shouldn’t have done it.”
Soto said he was looking for a fastball from Verlander in a 3-1 count.
“All the way,” Soto said. “All the way I was looking for the fastball. He got a little frustrated because they didn’t call the pitch before, those two balls up, and he thought it was a strike, but I’m just looking for that fastball.”
And his own bat-carry?
“I just thought it was pretty cool. I wanted to do it too,” he said.