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Instant analysis: Nats 7, Phillies 1

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Instant analysis: Nats 7, Phillies 1

Game in a nutshell: How good must this one have felt for the Nationals and their fans? After experiencing tense, low-scoring nailbiters almost every night of the week, this time everyone got to enjoy a rout. Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond and Chad Tracy all homered to ignite the lineup. Gio Gonzalez tossed seven innings of one-run ball. And a near-sellout crowd of 39,496 roared over and over again as the home team blew out its hated division rivals. Winners now of seven straight (and 11 of 13) against the Phillies dating back to last season, the NL East-leading Nationals now hold a 5 12-game lead over now last-place Philadelphia.

Hitting highlight: Given the manner in which the Phillies seemed to keep pitching around Bryce Harper to put the onus on Jayson Werth, the 126 million right fielder was going to have to deliver at some point. He finally did in the bottom of the fifth, belting a three-run homer to left to put the Nationals ahead for good. It had been a frustrating weekend to that point for Werth, who had stranded seven runners on base. But that big blast against his former team had to be particularly satisfying.

Pitching highlight: Having used up a bunch of relievers during last night's 11-inning marathon, the Nationals desperately needed Gio Gonzalez to pitch deep into this game. The left-hander did exactly that, tossing seven splendid innings of one-run, four-hit ball to earn his third victory. Gonzalez even turned things up a notch at the plate, belting a double to deep right field and sending another long fly ball to the warning track in center.

Key stat: Nationals starting pitchers have now allowed zero or one earned run in 18 of 27 games this season.

Up next: Having already beaten the Phillies seven straight times dating back to last season, the Nationals will go for the weekend sweep on national TV. Jordan Zimmermann faces Cole Hamels at 8:05 p.m. on Sunday Night Baseball.

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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.