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Harper gets first Philly experience

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Harper gets first Philly experience

Bryce Harper was grabbing a bat before Mondays game, ready for batting practice, when a Citizens Bank Park employee turned to him and said, you know, youre going to be one that Philly fans hate for a long time. The 19-year-old phenom laughed and turned to say, I hope so, before running out to take some swings.

Bryce Harper cant help the perception of him around the league, an assumption by opposing fans and even some players that he is some sort of bad guy. He was even booed in Los Angeles in his first professional game, unprecedented in todays world of sports. LeBron James and Alex Ovechkin get booed on the road all the time, but neither got it in their rookie years.

Harper seems to accept the role, however, perhaps a result of him being booed when he was in the minors. But Philadelphia Phillies fans are different than, say, those of the Hickory Crawdads. The Nats outfielder was booed each time he stepped to the plate on Monday, each time he made a defensive play, and when he stole a base in the fourth inning.

When Im walking to the plate Im not really thinking about the boos, Im just trying to think about what Im going to do this at-bat. But you can still hear everything, it really echoes out there, he said.

Harper played his first game at Citizens Bank Park in Philly on Monday, a unique experience for any professional athlete. Most opposing players are booed, but to be their central focus must be a different experience.

It is a good ballpark to play in and it gets really loud. Even if they dont have that many people in the stands it gets very loud. I think if they had had a packed house it would get a little louder, he said.

The Phillies crowd was an announced sellout but was clearly affected by the rainy weather. Harper though will have plenty of opportunities to hear them in full force as he continues his career.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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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.