NEW YORK — Teenage rookie Juan Soto homered twice and drove in four runs, becoming the youngest player in 29 years to go deep in a regular-season game at Yankee Stadium, and the Washington Nationals beat New York 5-4 on Wednesday night.
After getting a game off Tuesday, his first in three-plus weeks as a major leaguer, a refreshed Soto showed exactly why he was rated one of baseball’s best prospects.
The 19-year-old outfielder lofted a three-run homer into the left-field corner off Sonny Gray in the fourth inning to give Washington, shut out in its previous two games, a 4-3 lead. Soto then launched a titanic shot to right-centre in the seventh against Chasen Shreve (2-1), putting the Nationals back in front 5-4.
Projected at 436 feet, the drive soared to the back of a standing-room terrace above and beyond the Yankees’ bullpen in right-centre. It also ended a 23-inning shutout streak for New York relievers and made Soto (19 years, 231 days old) the youngest player in Nationals history to have a multihomer game.
Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. was 19 years, 190 days old when he homered — also twice — for Seattle at old Yankee Stadium on May 30, 1989. Andruw Jones was 19 as well when he hit two home runs for Atlanta in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series at Yankee Stadium.
Called up from Double-A Harrisburg on May 20, Soto is batting .344 with five homers and 12 RBIs.
New York got a long home run from its own impressive rookie, 21-year-old Gleyber Torres, to tie it at 4 in the fifth. Greg Bird also hit a solo homer and Giancarlo Stanton had three hits for the Yankees, including a two-out RBI single that glanced off the glove of third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Adam Eaton and Matt Adams had three hits apiece for the Nationals, who split the two-game interleague series between World Series contenders. The teams meet again next Monday in Washington to complete a May 15 matchup suspended with the score tied 3-all in the sixth inning and to make up a May 16 rainout.
Justin Miller (4-0) struck out four in 1 2/3 innings to earn the win on his 31st birthday. Sammy Solis knocked down Brett Gardner’s comebacker with a runner on third for the final out of the seventh. Ryan Madson pitched out of trouble in the eighth and Sean Doolittle worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances.
New York lost for only the fifth time in its last 23 home games.
Nationals rookie Erick Fedde allowed four runs and six hits in five innings. Pitching in place of injured ace Stephen Strasburg, the right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse before the game to make his fifth major league start and second …read more