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Instant analysis: Mets 9, Nats 5

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Instant analysis: Mets 9, Nats 5

Game in a nutshell: A couple of 12-game winners and All-Stars opposing each other on the mound? Sounds like a great pitchers' duel, right? Well, not entirely. R.A. Dickey held up his part of the bargain, tossing 7 13 strong innings. Gio Gonzalez, however, labored through his worst start of the season. The lefty was tagged for six earned runs in only 3 13 innings, three of those runs scoring on homers. And the Mets weren't done raking at the plate. David Wright crushed a three-run blast off Craig Stammen in the fourth, his second home run of the afternoon. Trailing 9-1 after that, the Nationals just played out the string, though there was an encouraging sight at day's end: Drew Storen made his season debut, tossing a 1-2-3 ninth and hitting 93 mph with his fastball.

Hitting highlight: Tough to find many offensive highlights when you're down 9-1 in the sixth inning, but how about some recognition for Sandy Leon. The poor guy's big-league debut in May didn't even last four innings before he suffered a high ankle sprain on a collision at the plate. He finally returned today and wound up recording his first career hit in the process: a single off Dickey to lead off the seventh inning. GM Mike Rizzo espoused confidence earlier today in Leon, who may get his share of time behind the plate as the Nationals try to give Jesus Flores some more breathers before the stretch run. If he can produce the occasional hit at the plate, that will help his cause for playing time.

Pitching lowlight: Gonzalez clearly didn't have it from the moment he took the mound. Three batters into his afternoon, he grooved a first-pitch fastball to Wright, who belted it to left for a two-run homer. Ike Davis added a solo blast to lead off the second, and it just continued to go downhill from there. Gonzalez had all sorts of trouble locating his fastball, leading to three walks. And those pitches that did find the strike zone were hammered. After allowing one homer in his first 14 starts this season, he's now served up five over his last five outings. Cause for concern? Not yet. But Gio has not been the same pitcher over the last month he was through the season's first 2 12 months.

Key stat: At 3.32, Gonzalez's ERA is now at its highest point since April 12 (when it sat at 3.38 following his second start of the season).

Up next: Biggest series of the year upcoming? You could make a case for it as the second-place Braves (who now trail the Nationals by 3 12 games) come to D.C. for a four-games-in-three-days showdown. Stephen Strasburg and Tommy Hanson get things started at 7:05 p.m. Friday.

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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.