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Beltway Battle, Part 2

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Beltway Battle, Part 2

We have finally reached the final series of the Nationals' 32-game stretch against nothing but NL East and AL East opponents. They've already guaranteed they'll wind up with a winning record during this span, having gone 17-12 to this point, but they'd certainly like to add another couple (or three) victories to the pile this weekend against the Orioles.

The Nats also are motivated to take this series after losing two of three to Baltimore last month in D.C. Jordan Zimmermann did not pitch in that series, so he'll be making his first start of the season against the Orioles tonight (he has faced them three previous times in his career, going 1-1 with a 2.75 ERA).

Jason Hammel (who did face the Nats last month and came away with a win) is on the mound for Baltimore, so Davey Johnson is using his standard lineup against right-handers ... with one twist. Since they're in an American League, Michael Morse will serve as designated hitter for the seventh straight time). Roger Bernadina takes his spot in right field.

Unfortunately, I'm not able to cover tonight's game at Camden Yards. Rich Dubroff will have the full report on CSNwashington.com. Enjoy the game...

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Where: Camden Yards
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WWXT (92.7 FM), WWXX (94.3 FM), WJFK (106.7 FM), WTEM (980 AM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 182
Weather: Scattered storms, 87 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF to RF

NATIONALS (40-27)
LF Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
DH Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Roger Bernadina
C Jesus Flores
(RHP Jordan Zimmermann)

ORIOLES (39-30)
2B Brian Roberts
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Chris Davis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
3B Wilson Betemit
1B Mark Reynolds
DH Nick Johnson
LF Steve Pearce
(RHP Jason Hammel)

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.