Juan Soto started the series opener with the Miami Marlins with a seven-game hit streak going, over which the Washington Nationals’ 20-year-old slugger was 12 for 26 (.462 AVG) with five doubles, a triple, one home run, three walks, and four runs scored, and he had multi-hit games in four of the seven on the streak which took him from .228/.345/.415 to a .268/.374/.490 line after 40 games and 174 PAs in his sophomore season in the majors.
Soto grounded out in his first at bat of the game last night but got hold of a 2-2 changeup from Marlins’ starter Pablo López in the third and lined a single to right field to extend the hit streak to eight-straight games.
Soto got a couple more hits as the game went on, including a three-run blast in the eighth that turned a 9-8 deficit into an 11-9 lead in what ended up a 12-10 win.
He went 3 for 4 with a walk, two runs scored, and three RBIs and finished the game with a .281/.385/.516 line, 10 doubles, and eight home runs in 41 games and 179 PAs.
How big was the homer by Soto in the eighth, when it looked like the Nationals might lose another game due to late-inning bullpen issues?
“It was huge,” manager Davey Martinez said. “And where he hit it. And that’s him. When he starts using the middle of the field, he’s really good, and he’s been doing that, so you know he’s fine right now. I love Adam Eaton’s at bats today, and his walks, beautiful. Trea [Turner] got a big hit for us. All these guys, [Anthony] Rendon, I mean, I can go all the way down the line, but just play, play baseball, and that’s all I ask these guys to do every day, ‘Hey, just play hard.’”
With his 3 for 4 game, Soto’s now 15 for 30 in the last eight. What’s been working over this stretch?
“Swinging at strikes, using the whole field. He’s really good when he uses the whole field. Accepting his walks,” Martinez said.
Soto said he knew his late-game home run was a big one, especially for a team that was on the verge of dropping a sixth straight game.
“That means a lot,” he told MASN’s Alex Chappell on the field after the win.
“Every time you come to the field I just try to help my team the most I can. It just happened. I just tried to step in there and tried bring one run, and I just brought three.”
Will he extend the streak today? Will the Nationals make it two in a row? It’s a 4:05 start time just FYI.