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Nats send Barrett to minors after tough outing vs. Arizona

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Nats send Barrett to minors after tough outing vs. Arizona

Updated at 2:55 p.m.

On the heels of a trainwreck ballgame Wednesday night that saw their bullpen give up nine earned runs for the first time in six years, the Nationals optioned right-hander Aaron Barrett to Class AAA Syracuse before Thursday's series finale against the Diamondbacks and recalled Blake Treinen to take his spot on the roster.

Barrett was front-and-center during Wednesday's meltdown, giving up three runs during the top of the fifth, including the tying and go-ahead runs on a wild throw to first base. He had, however, been on a prolonged run of success, not surrendering any runs over his previous nine appearances.

Overall, Barrett owns a 4.60 ERA in 40 games, despite a strong 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season and only 28 hits allowed in 29 1/3 innings. The Nationals, though, want to see more consistency from the second-year reliever.

"I look back to [last weekend's] New York series. He pitched really well," manager Matt Williams said. "But then last night is an example of him not quite making a pitch, and having a bloop, and making the error and things go haywire. The situations we put him in are important situations, and he's been there many times. ... Recently, there's been some times where he just hasn't been able to make that pitch. So we just want him to make sure that he's continuing to work."

Barrett's most-recent appearance came under somewhat unusual circumstances, with starter Gio Gonzalez pulled after allowing a leadoff single on his second pitch of the sixth inning. Afterward, Barrett hinted he didn't have much time to warm-up prior to his entry.

"I did the best I could with the one batter I was able to get loose during the sixth inning," he said. "It is what it is, but you've got to find a way to get the job done. I didn't make pitches, and that's the result of it."

Treinen rejoins the Nationals after his demotion to Class AAA last month. He made only five appearances for Syracuse, but totaled 12 innings and didn't surrender a run, striking out 14 with only one walk. The 27-year-old battled his own inconsistencies while in the big leagues earlier this season, with a 4.39 ERA in 32 relief appearances. He hopes an emphasis on getting left-handed batters out — he started using his 4-seam fastball more against them in Syracuse — will help him now that he's back at this level after a demotion he understood was necessary.

"Shoot, it was no news to me," Treinen said. "I'm not trying to be upset for the lack or performance I had, or the reason I got sent down. I had things I had to work on that are going to help this team, and hopefully it translates when I get back up here."

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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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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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.