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Instant analysis: Nats 3, Phillies 0

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Instant analysis: Nats 3, Phillies 0

Game in a nutshell: Perhaps needing a pick-me-up after two frustrating losses to the Phillies the last two nights, the Nationals got one late in the afternoon when they learned Jayson Werth would be activated off the disabled list and appear in his first game since he broke his left wrist May 6. Werth was solid in his return, roping a base hit in his first at-bat and adding an RBI groundout in his second.

But the real pick-me-up came from the left-hander on the mound: Ross Detwiler, who turned in seven scoreless innings to out-duel Cole Hamels and improve to 6-4 with a 3.02 ERA for the season. Adam LaRoche's 20th homer of the season (plus some well-timed defensive gaffes by the Phillies infield) provided all the run support Detwiler needed, and Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard closed out a much-needed victory to avoid a series sweep and maintain at least a 2 12-game lead over the Braves.

Hitting highlight: Remember those fears about a month ago that LaRoche's season was careening off the rails? Well, he's certainly gotten things back on track. Since June 30, the veteran first baseman is hitting .333 with five homers, six doubles and 16 RBI. With a three-hit performance tonight -- including a second-deck bomb in the second inning -- LaRoche raised his season average back to .271, his home run total to 20 and his RBI total to 64. Combined with his stellar defensive play and his calming clubhouse influence, he's been invaluable to this team.

Pitching highlight: Detwiler's night actually started off a bit shaky: He put six men on base over the first three innings and seemed to be playing with fire. He sure doused those flames in a hurry. The left-hander proceeded to retire the final 14 batters he faced in succession, getting stronger and more efficient as the night progressed. Detwiler ended the seventh inning with only 88 pitches and probably could've been sent back out for the eighth for only the second time in his career. But Davey Johnson decided to play it safe with his No. 5 starter, who now boasts a 2.55 ERA in seven starts since rejoining the Nationals' rotation.

Key stat: With only 26, the Nationals are tied with the Cubs for the fewest unearned runs allowed in the NL this season.

Up next: It's supposed to be a beautiful evening Friday, maybe they should play two! Actually, they will. John Lannan returns from Syracuse to face Marlins lefty Brad Hand at 4:05 p.m., then 25 minutes after the conclusion of that game, Gio Gonzalez and Josh Johnson take the mound for the nightcap of the single-admission doubleheader.

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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.