Juan Soto homers twice as Nats sweep Phils
PHILADELPHIA The Phillies are fading fast in the National League East and the Nationals have been helping them get there.
Rookie sensation Juan Soto, 19, hit two homersincluding a solo shot in the 10thand had four RBIs as the Nationals beat the Phillies 7-6 on Tuesday in the second game of the doubleheader.
Washington has now won four in a row for the first time since late May and has won six of the last eight against the Phillies, including four of five at Citizens Bank Stadium.
The Nationals had tied the game with three runs in the top of the ninth, as Trea Turner walked with the bases loaded to bring in the tying run.
The game, which lasted over four hours and ended with a few hundred fans on hand, had some scary moments as Nationals speedster Adam Eaton slid headfirst into second base in the fifth and appeared to come up with blood on his forehead.
Then in the top of the eighth Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco fell into a camera well while chasing a foul pop hit by Eaton. Franco walked off the field on his power.
The Nationals won the first game 3-1 as pitcher Erick Fedde got his second big league win and first hit while catcher Spencer Kieboom slammed his first big league homer on a day he also lost a tooth.
“I just popped it off,” Kieboom said. “The (Washington) Caps, those boys play with no teeth. I can play with no teeth.”
The Phillies have lost 22 of their last 33 games and their postseason chances are nearly as dire as that of the Nationals.
Washington had eyes on a sweep as starting pitcher Tanner Roark had not allowed a run in the first four innings before the Phillies broke through in the fifth for five runs on seven hits and none of them very cheap.
The hosts hit liners to all portions of the outfield, as Scott Kingery had RBI double, Cesar Hernandez drove in run with a single, Rhys Hoskins had an RBI double and former Washington catcher Wilson Ramos had a two-run single to make it 5-3.
Joey Bautista of the Phillies hit a solo homer in the eighth to make it 6-3.
Roark allowed five runs on 10 hits before he left with two outs in the fifth.
The Nationals had taken the lead as Soto had an RBI double in the second.
Then in his next at-bat Soto crushed a two-run homer off Phillies starter Jake Arrieta to make it 3-0 in the fourth.
Soto has 18 homers and 60 RBI since being called up May 20 from the minors and is a rookie of the year candidate.
The Phillies (74-70) were retired in the 10th as Nationals reliever Greg Holland got the save.
The Nationals (73-72) began the day 8 1/2 games back of first-place Atlanta, which played at San Francisco on Tuesday.
The game came as Major League Baseball remembered the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Former Yankee great Don Mattingly, now the manager of the Marlins, recalled 9-11 before his team faced the Mets on Tuesday.
“I felt like I watched TV for like three weeks straight,” Mattingly told the AP. “Just couldn’t take my eyes off the TV.”
Soto, 19, the youngest player on the Nationals active roster, was born just three years before the 9-11 attacks.
The only native of New York or Pennsylvania on the Nationals active roster is pitcher Kyle McGowin, 26, who gave up the homer to Bautista. McGowin was nearly nine years old in September 2011. He was born in Southampton, New York and grew up on Long Island.
Stephen Strasburg (7-7) of the Nationals is slated to face Phils standout and Cy Young Award candidate Aaron Nola (16-4) in the series finale Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.