Juan Soto extends career-best hitting streak, but misses chance to be hero
Juan Soto sent a double to the right-field corner in the fourth inning of the Nationals’ 3-2 loss Monday, which extended his active hitting streak to a career-best 11 games.
But his most important at-bat came four innings later, with the bases loaded, two outs and a chance to deliver the Nationals a sweep of the Miami Marlins.
Soto didn’t deliver. The 20-year-old got ahead in the count 2-1, hung in and fouled off the fifth pitch, which brought a look of frustration to his face. He hit a powerful line drive on the next pitchdirectly to left fielder Curtis Granderson.
Despite the result, manager Dave Martinez called Soto’s at-bat “beautiful.”
“We had a chance there with the bases loaded, but I mean, (Marlins reliever Adam) Conley is not an easy guy to face left-handed,” Martinez said. ”(Soto) stayed in and hit a line drive to left field.”
If Soto were a few years older, standing on a few years’ more experience, the line-out might have been more disappointing to fans. On its own, it was hardly the reason Washington lost the gameMax Scherzer only gave up one run in six innings, but the defense could not support the bullpen’s efforts to hold onto a 2-1 lead.
As for Soto’s hitting streak, it remains the second-longest active streak in the majors behind only Tampa Bay’s Thomas Pham, according to the website Baseball Musings, which tracks streaks daily. Soto had two hitting streaks of 10 games apiece in 2018.
Soto (who did not speak to reporters after the game) has caught fire after a slow start to his sophomore year in the majors. During his hitting streak, he is batting .463 (19-for-41) with 11 RBI, six doubles, two home runs and a triple.
He’s also walked five times. Earlier in the series, Martinez praised Soto’s patience at the plate, something that also stood out about his game when the “Childish Bambino” was a rookie.