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Purke makes first minor league start

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Purke makes first minor league start

Nationals pitching prospect and 2011 third round pick Matt Purke made his first minor league start as a member of the organization on Thursday. It was a much awaited debut for the young lefty, but the results were a little ugly.

Purke took the loss for Single-A Hagerstown after allowing five earned runs to the Greensboro Grasshoppers. He gave up seven hits, five walks, a home run and struck out just one batter in the afternoon game.

Purke had been at Nationals' extended spring training in Florida to start the year because of past shoulder issues. The 21-year-old Texas Christian product was selected 96th overall by Washington last season and signed a four-year, 4 million deal in August.

The Nationals believe Purke to be a fast-rising prospect and hope for him to reach the big leagues as early as next season. He was signed above slot to convince him to leave college as before he arrived at TCU he was picked 14th overall by the Texas Rangers in 2009. Purke declined the offer and went on to have a stellar freshman year with the Horned Frogs.

In 2010 Purke went 16-0 with a 3.02 ERA and was named the Baseball America Freshman of the Year. In 2011 he battled shoulder issues but still held a 5-1 record with a 1.71 ERA in 11 appearances.

Washington believes Purke is past the shoulder problems and his development will be closely watched throughout the course of this season.

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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.