NEW YORK - The Nationals’ scoreless streak has mercifully come to an end.
With a top-of-the-first rally tonight at Yankee Stadium, the Nats plated their first run since Saturday, snapping their streak at 19 consecutive scoreless innings.
Adam Eaton got things started with a leadoff double off Sonny Gray, then advanced to third on Trea Turner’s infield single. Turner promptly stole second base, recording the 100th steal of his career in the process.
The Nationals, though, missed an opportunity for a big inning. Anthony Rendon’s sacrifice fly brought home Eaton, but Bryce Harper struck out looking at a close 3-2 pitch prior to that, and Daniel Murphy lined out to right field to get Gray off the hook despite a 34-pitch inning.
The Nats had another opportunity in the top of the second, but managed not to score despite putting their first two hitters on base. Matt Adams, who singled and then took second when Juan Soto walked, was doubled up after Wilmer Difo lined out hard to second base. Soto then was picked off, spoiling the 19-year-old’s latest impressive at-bat.
The Nationals are going to need to score some more runs to win tonight, because the Yankees have already made a dent into Erick Fedde. The rookie right-hander gave up a run in the first on a single, a stolen base, an error by catcher Spencer Kieboom and a sacrifice fly.
Fedde then surrendered another run in the second when he left a changeup up in the zone to Greg Bird and watch as the ball was launched into the right field bleachers, leaving the Nats trailing 2-1.
Update: In case you haven’t heard the news, Soto is pretty good. In case you also haven’t heard, he’s still only 19. The kid did it again, lofting a high fly ball down the left field line that barely cleared the short fence for a three-run homer in the top of the fourth. It’s Soto’s fourth homer, his third hit to the opposite field. He’s now batting .339/.446/.597 with four homers, 11 RBIs, 12 walks and 11 strikeouts. Oh, and Murphy got on base for the first time this season, starting the rally with a two-out walk. Murphy went first-to-third on Adams’ single to right, and though it didn’t look pretty, he got the job done. Fedde, meanwhile, gave up another run in the bottom of the third, though one that could’ve been prevented had Rendon been able to handle Giancarlo Stanton’s hard grounder to third. Fedde did respond to Soto’s homer with a 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth, though, preserving the Nats’ newfound 4-3 lead.
Update II: Fedde couldn’t hold the lead forever. Gleyber Torres launched a solo homer to left in the bottom of the fifth, so that tied the game back up at 4-4. Fedde is done after five innings. The results weren’t great, but that was a stiff test he faced tonight.
Update III: Juan Soto, ladies and gentlemen. He’s real and he’s spectacular. His first homer wasn’t enough. He had to go and launch another one, this one a 436-foot blast over the right field bullpen, off left-hander Chasen Shreve. It’s Soto’s fifth major league homer, and four of them have now come off a lefty. Remarkable. Nats lead 5-4 in the seventh.
Update IV: That’s your ballgame. Nats win 5-4. Soto was the hero with his two homers. But this also wouldn’t have been possible without four scoreless innings from the bullpen. Justin Miller, Sammy Solís, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle came through big-time to finish this game off and ensure a two-game series split.