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Harper soaks in All-Star experience

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Harper soaks in All-Star experience

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As expected, once the door opened inside the club level at Arrowhead Stadium this afternoon for the media's 45-minute session with members of the NL All-Star team, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg immediately found themselves engulfed by reporters, microphones, cameras and other assorted oddities all looking to grab a minute with the Nationals' two young stars.

Sitting just to the right of his big-name teammates, Gio Gonzalez wasn't quite as big a draw, though the left-hander enjoyed the spotlight just as much.

"This is exciting," Gonzalez said. "You get an opportunity like this to have some fun, see some superstars out here, talk to them and pick their brains ... everyone's here enjoying this and embracing it."

There were, of course, plenty of attempts from media members to get Harper to chastise them for asking clown questions. Despite a whole lot of bizarre queries that qualified, Harper refrained from using the phrase that became a worldwide sensation last month.

Here are some highlights from the Nats' trio of All-Stars...

BRYCE HARPER
On his first impressions: "Being able to be around the guys that are the best players in baseball, it's pretty impressive coming in here. It's just a lot of fun being here, and it's only just getting started. Just being around these guys, I'm speechless. It's pretty unbelievable."

On what should be expected of him in tomorrow night's game: "I'm pretty terrible in All-Star Games. I don't know what they're going to see from me. Aflac All-American, I was 0-for-5 with four Ks. Under Armor All-American, I was like 0-for-5, 5 Ks. Last year in the Futures Game, I was like 0-for-5, 5 Ks. I'm just going to try to enjoy myself as much as I can and have as much fun as I can. Really just take it all in."

STEPHEN STRASBURG
On having multiple teammates alongside for the All-Star Game: "It's great being on a first-place team that can have more than one guy here. To be in this situation, where you have four guys, it's awesome."

On Gonzalez: "I've learned so much from him already, and I think he's learned a thing or two from me. We're a great combination. I'm excited we're going to be here for a while."

GIO GONZALEZ
On his teammates: "If it was up to me, I'd bring the whole team with us. Every single one of those guys deserves to be here."

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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.