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Escobar, Moore power Nats' offense in blowout win

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Escobar, Moore power Nats' offense in blowout win

When a team scores 13 runs in a game, there are usually plenty of contributors, and that was the case for the Nationals in their win over the Marlins on Sunday afternoon. But two players in particular - Yunel Escobar and Tyler Moore, who combined for seven RBI - stood out above all.

Escobar recorded his fourth four-hit game of the season on Sunday. It was his 13th game with three hits or more in 130 total games. That means he's had three hits or more in 10 percent of the games he's played this season.

This performance raised his season batting average from .319 to .324, good for fourth in the National League. Bryce Harper remains in first at .343, but Escobar is not far behind.

Escobar's biggest hit was a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning. He powered a line drive into the gap in right-center field to score Trea Turner, Stephen Strasburg and Michael Taylor.

"His secret to success is the ball hit to right-center field," manager Matt Williams said. "When he's going well, that's what he does. Got a couple of them back through the middle today. Just a really good game. But for him, the ball to right-center is indicative of him seeing the ball well and staying on it."

This is by some measures the best season of Escobar's nine-year MLB career. It's not only coming at the age of 32, but also in his first season with the Nats, who traded for him this past winter.

"He’s not thinking too much about numbers or looking at his stats," Escobar said through a translator. "He’s just going out there, playing the game and having fun and leaves everything up to God. Whatever falls, it’s been fortunate that things have been going well for him."

Escobar continued to explain how he is in a good state mentally and that, he believes, comes from a strong winter of training.

"He’s playing with a clean mind. He prepared himself real well this offseason, playing real relaxed. He said that’s why it’s leading to him having a good year," translator Octavio Martinez relayed from Escobar.

For Moore, the credit goes in part to an increase in playing time. Moore got starts on back-to-back days this weekend and homered in both games. His home run on Sunday as a three-run bomb to left field off Marlins lefty Justin Nicolino.

Before Saturday, Moore hadn't homered in a game since June 12, a span of 47 appearances. Him getting regular playing time surely hasn't hurt.

"The more he plays, the more rhythm he gets," Williams said.

"It feels good. Just to come in and play and be out there with my teammates," Moore added. "It was a fun, good atmosphere out there and two good wins for us."

Moore's three appearances prior to Saturday were either as a defensive replacement, pinch-hitter or pinch-runner. He was happy to make a larger contribution this weekend.

"Any time you get that opportunity, it's fun to get a couple of knocks or drive a guy in or do something small to help us out," he said.

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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.