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Bullpen holds after Strasburg's early exit, but Nats fall

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Bullpen holds after Strasburg's early exit, but Nats fall

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: After a 28-minute rain delay, Stephen Strasburg took the mound trying to duplicate his rotation mates' recent string of dominance and pitch the Nationals to their fourth straight win. Something, though, clearly wasn't right with Strasburg from the beginning, who labored through three innings, was visited on the mound by a trainer and had dugout conversations with pitching coach Steve McCatty after each inning.

With their starter pulled after only three frames, the Nationals needed something extra out of their bullpen, and they got it from Sammy Solis, who tossed three scoreless innings in his second career appearance. Blake Treinen, Matt Thornton and Aaron Barrett each put up a zero as well, keeping the Nationals' deficit at 2-1 throughout the evening.

But they simply couldn't push across the tying run against Mat Latos or a Miami bullpen that combined to allow only three hits in the entire game, one after the third inning. Thus concluded a frustrating night for the Nationals, whose winning streak is over and who now wait to find out Strasburg's status.

MORE NATIONALS: RG3 ATTENDS TUESDAY NIGHT'S GAME

HITTING LOWLIGHT: They didn't have many opportunities, not when they only managed three hits in the game (one of which was a pinch-hit by Doug Fister of all people). Perhaps their best chance to rally, though, came in the seventh, when Latos issued a pair of walks. The Nats still couldn't deliver the big hit. Ian Desmond struck out looking at an admittedly outside fastball. Michael Taylor grounded into a fielder's choice and Clint Robinson was robbed of a potential game-tying hit by a diving Dee Gordon at second base. That's the kind of night it was.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: We don't know yet what exactly was wrong with Strasburg, but something certainly didn't look right. He grimaced after throwing several pitches, and his command was all over the place (he even hit a batter on a wayward changeup). Matt Williams and head trainer Lee Kuntz did come out to check on Strasburg during the second inning, but whatever was troubling him wasn't enough to warrant his immediate removal from the game. The right-hander wound up returning for the top of the third and emerged with a scoreless frame. But that was all the Nats needed to see on this night. Strasburg departed having thrown 64 pitches in three innings, clearly not himself.

KEY STAT: Fister became the first Nats pitcher to record a pinch-hit since Beltran Perez on Sept. 27, 2006.

UP NEXT: The series wraps up with a 1:05 p.m. matinee Wednesday. Max Scherzer (1-3, 1.26) gets the start against right-hander Tom Koehler (2-2, 4.67).

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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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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.