Trailing 7-3 after six, the Washington Nationals rallied for seven runs over the final three innings and beat the Cincinnati Reds 10-8 on Saturday afternoon in Great American Ball Park.
Juan Soto, who homered in the fourth, went yard again in the seventh, hitting a three-run blast, Luis García doubled to drive in Maikel Franco, Franco singled in the ninth to drive a run in as well, and then García drove in two more, which ended up being big ones.
“These guys battled back,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nationals’ win in the Reds’ home.
“We had good at-bats late in the game, and Soto comes through with a big home run, and then the at-bats got better, and just moved the ball, put the ball in play. We’ll score some runs when our big guys start hitting the ball like they did today, but it was good. I was proud of the boys. These guys don’t quit. They play hard till the last out and you saw that today.”
Soto went 2 for 5 with two runs scored and four RBIs. Nelson Cruz put up a 3 for 4 day. Lane Thomas had a two-hit game after homering three times on Saturday. Franco went 3 for 5 in the win, with two runs scored and two RBIs, and García went 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs.
The combined 6 for 8 from his Nos. 8-9 hitters was a welcome development.
“Franco and García did great today,” Martinez said. “Look, Franco’s been, like I’ve said, he’s been awesome all year long. He’s drove in some big runs for us. What I liked today about him, I told him, I said, ‘You can run a little bit. You’ve been hiding on me. So keep running the bases well.’ That’s part of it you know, but he had some good at-bats for us today.
“And Luis swings the bat. He’s been swinging the bat in the minor leagues, and he’s come up here and he’s hit the ball well today, so hopefully he continues to do that.”
And Soto, who’s hit three home runs in the last two games ... after he hit his previous three (of 12 overall this season) over 26 games?
“Yeah, he stayed on the ball, and that’s him,” Martinez said. “Not trying to pull the ball. We talked about that, just stay on the ball and stay in the middle of the field. Today, he got two balls up in the zone, and he drove them both. One to center field, and one to right-center. That’s just who he is. Like I’ve said before, I don’t really worry about him. He has a good game plan every day, he does his routine every day. For me, as I talked to him, I said, ‘Don’t chase, get the ball in the strike zone, and if you get a ball — even early in the count — and you think you can hit it go ahead and swing, good chances are you’re going to hit it hard.”
Soto’s second of the game, Martinez said, sparked something in the offense, and as he said, he liked the at-bats he saw afterwards.
“We felt like, ‘Hey, we’re back in the game.’ And it was good, and you started seeing the at-bats getting crispier, better, we started hitting the ball on the nose again, but it was good. Like I said, it was a good day.”
Will the Nationals have another good day on getaway day in Great American Ball Park?