AP NEWS

Juan Soto hits 3-run shot to lift Nationals

April 10, 2019

PHILADELPHIA Stephen Strasburg was in the clubhouse here late Tuesday night when Juan Soto put the exclamation point on a spirited comeback by the Nationals.

Soto crushed a three-run homer down the right-field line off Jose Alvarez as the Washington Nationals rallied from a 6-1 deficit to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-6.

“The tape delay is killing me,” said Strasburg, who was watching the in-house broadcast from the training table. “It was fun to watch. We are all in this together. We are just having fun.”

There was a video review of the homer but the call on the field stood as the Nationals bench erupted after the homer was ruled fair. Brian Dozier and Anthony Rendon led off the 10th with singles before Soto hit his second homer of the year.

“It was fair,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of the Soto blast.

Victor Robles added an RBI single later in the 10th for a 10-6 lead.

That helped mask a rough outing for Strasburg, who allowed six runs on six hits in just four innings. The winning pitcher was Nationals closer Sean Doolittle (3-0), who fanned Bryce Harper in the ninth and got J.T. Realmuto to line out with the possible winning run on second base.

The Washington bullpen, which entered the game with the worst ERA in the majors, did not allow a run in six innings. Doolittle also pitched the 10th inning.

“The bullpen was outstanding,” said Martinez. “Keep that going and we will win a lot of games.”

“The bullpen picked me up big time,” Strasburg said.

Nationals outfielder Robles tied the game with a two-out homer in the top of the ninth off Phillies reliever Hector Neris. That got Strasburg off the hook as he was not involved in the decision.

Strasburg gave up two homers in the third inning, including a towering shot to left by former teammate Harper. That three-run blast made it 4-1 and Jean Segura had a two-run triple in the fourth before Joe Ross took over in the fifth for the maligned Washington bullpen.

Strasburg threw three straight change-ups to Harper, who crushed the third one. “It was just poorly executed,” Strasburg said.

Later in the fourth Jean Segura had a two-run triple down the line as right fielder Adam Eaton made a diving attempt to catch the ball. That gave the Phillies a 6-1 lead. Maikel Franco of the Phillies tied the game earlier in the third with a solo homer off Strasburg.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the first as Eaton doubled and scored on a sac fly. Anthony Rendon had an RBI double in the sixth to cut the lead to 6-2.

Washington catcher Yan Gomes hit his first homer of the year, a two-run shot, to make it 6-4 in the seventh off Phillies starter Aaron Nola. Howie Kendrick then hit a pinch-hit homer to pull Washington to within 6-5. It was the first pinch-hit homer in the career of Kendrick.

“We are just playing hard every day,” Martinez said.