WASHINGTON– 19-year-old Juan Soto hit his first career home run in the second inning and the Washington Nationals never looked back, routing the Padres 10-2 in front of 27,890 at Nationals Park.
Washington improved to 25-21 while San Diego fell to 20-29.
Nats tee off on Padres pitching
Robbie Erlin got the spot-start on Monday night for the Padres, starting in place of Joey Lucchesi (hip). It was the left-hander’s second start of the season. In his prior start on April 16 against the Dodgers, Erlin allowed seven hits and five earned runs in three innings.
In the first, the 27-year-old cruised in a spotless 11-pitch inning. What happened next was a barrage of Nationals hits.
In the second, Washington pushed across five runs on six hits. Three of those runs came off the bat of 19-year-old Juan Soto, who was making his first big league start. Soto followed a leadoff single by Mark Reynolds and a double by Pedro Severino with a 422-foot blast to left-center field. It was the rookie’s first MLB home run. Both Trea Turner and Bryce Harper registered RBI doubles later in the inning.
Mark Reynolds led off the third inning with a home run for the sixth Nationals run of the night. It would be the final run that Erlin would allow. All in all, the southpaw threw four innings, giving up seven hits and six runs.
“There were a lot of pitches that were elevated, a lot over the plate,” Erlin stated after his outing. “Kind of worked behind at times, which made things tougher. There are things to adjust going forward.”
Bryan Mitchell followed Erlin with a three inning outing. The starter-turned-reliever did not do too much to provide relief. He allowed seven hits and four earned runs (two home runs) in mop-up duty.
Bryce Harper led off the fifth inning with an opposite-field blast off Mitchell. In the 7th, Mark Reynolds hit his second home run of the game, a two-out solo shot off the Padres right-hander.
Reynolds has now hit four home runs in the six games he has played this season.
In what was a quiet, four-hit effort for the Padres, the lone bright spot of the night came from Franmil Reyes.
With the Padres down 6-0 in the top of the fourth, the 6’5″, 275-pound Reyes cracked an opposite-field two-run home run off Nats left-hander Gio Gonzalez. The home run was the first of the outfielder’s major league career.
“It was a great swing for him, I know it was a big moment. I know he didn’t want to have it happen in a game like this, but the kid’s first home run is a lot of fun for him,” manager Andy Green said.
The ball left Reyes’s bat at 108 miles-per-hour and traveled 398 feet into the right-field seats.
“Hopefully after this one, a lot more will come,” said Reyes.
Prior to first pitch, the Padres recalled left-handed reliever Tyler Webb and sent down infielder Carlos Asuaje to Triple-A El Paso. Asuaje, whose playing time has been inconsistent in recent weeks, will look to move around the infield and increase his versatility.
Webb gives the Padres another left-handed relief option out of the bullpen, as Erlin will likely be unavailable for the next few days after Monday’s start.
Hedges heads on rehab assignment
Catcher Austin Hedges, who has been out since May 1 with tendinitis in his right elbow, began a rehab assignment tonight in Tacoma with the El Paso Chihuahuas. He had been working out and playing in extended spring training games in Arizona.