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Instant Analysis: Nats 9, Giants 3

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Instant Analysis: Nats 9, Giants 3

Game in a nutshell: What looked like an intriguing pitching matchup between Jordan Zimmermann and two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum instead turned into a lopsided Nationals victory. A lineup that has resurrected itself over the last week did it again, this time pounding out eight runs off Lincecum in only 3 13 innings. Among the biggest hits: Danny Espinosa's RBI double off the center-field wall, Zimmermann's RBI double into the right-field corner, Adam LaRoche's RBI double to deep center and then Ian Desmond's two-run bomb into the left-field bleachers. All of that gave Zimmermann a healthy cushion, and the right-hander cruised through six-plus innings before the rain started falling and brought the tarp onto the field. After a delay of 1 hour and 25 minutes -- during which it actually rained for only 10 minutes -- the Nats closed this one out and improved to 14 games over .500.

Hitting highlight: Take your pick from the Nationals' lineup, because just about everyone contributed to this one. But let's go with Desmond, who singled and scored in the bottom of the second and then crushed a two-run homer in the bottom of the third. That gives the All-Star shortstop 14 homers for the season, the most he's ever hit in any professional season (major or minor leagues). With the season not quite at the halfway mark yet, Desmond is on pace to finish 2012 with 30 homers and 93 RBI. As a shortstop who typically hits sixth for this team. That's fairly impressive.

Pitching highlight: Zimmermann doesn't often get a chance to pitch with a hefty lead, but his teammates ensured that would be the case tonight. And then the right-hander went out and did exactly what he needed to do, working efficiently and not giving the Giants much of any opportunity to get themselves back into the game. Case in point: He didn't issue one walk. Zimmermann also reached the seventh inning for the ninth time this year. And he recorded his 14th quality start in 16 tries, the model of consistency.

Key stat: In a career that has spanned 172 starts, Lincecum had never given up eight runs until tonight.

Up next: Who's up for some morning baseball? The Nats and Giants will be right back at it at 11:05 a.m. for tomorrow's Independence Day special. Edwin Jackson starts for Washington against San Francisco lefty Madison Bumgarner.

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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.