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Instant analysis: Yankees-Nationals

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Instant analysis: Yankees-Nationals

Game in a nutshell: The most-anticipated series in Nationals history got off to a ragged start. A couple of early scoring opportunities were mostly squandered, and Gio Gonzalez got himself into trouble during a two-run third inning. Despite that, the Nats were in the game most of the night and only trailed 2-1 in the seventh. That's when the wheels fell off. Brad Lidge replaced Gonzalez and let three of four batters he faced reach safely, though the key "blow" was an infield single by Derek Jeter that wound up scoring two runs thanks to Ian Desmond' throwing error. Michael Gonzalez then added fuel to the fire by serving up a two-run double to Curtis Granderson. That four-run inning completely turned the game around and left a sellout crowd of 41,406 (that is, everyone not wearing Yankees gear) with little reason to cheer.

Hitting lowlight: You can't realistically expect to hold a thunderous lineup like the Yankees have entirely in check, so the only way the Nationals were going to win this game was with some semblance of a productive lineup. They never got it. The Nats did have a couple of early scoring opportunities. They put two on with one out in the first (and watching as Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse each struck out) and then loaded the bases with one out in the third (getting an RBI single from Morse but then a killer, 6-4-3 double play from Desmond). After that, the Nationals' lineup was completely shut down by the New York pitching staff

Pitching lowlight: Sitting on 107 pitches through six innings, Gio Gonzalez was allowed to start the top of the seventh. But after a leadoff single to Andruw Jones, Davey Johnson came out with the hook. Enter Lidge, who immediately turned a tight ballgame into a mess. It's not that anyone hit the ball hard off Lidge (actually, none of the four batters he faced got the ball out of the infield). But a leadoff walk to Russell Martin set the tone, and after intentionally walking Robinson Cano to load the bases for Jeter, Lidge really found himself in a spot. He got a groundball out of the Yankee captain, but it was perfectly placed and (after Desmond's throwing error) led to a pair of runs scoring for the Yankees. Tough spot for Lidge, but he's got to be able to get out of that situation without so much self-inflicted damage.

Key stat: Entering tonight, the Yankees were 17-0 this season when Alex Rodriguez drove in a run. He recorded an RBI single in the third for New York's first run of the night, and the Yankees went on to win and improve that record to 18-0.

Up next: Game 2 of this series features the emerging Jordan Zimmermann and the ageless Andy Pettitte. First pitch at Nationals Park will be at 1:05 p.m. Saturday.

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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.