PHILADELPHIA - More notes from the Nationals’ stunning 4-3 late inning comeback win over the Phillies.
Juan Soto has pulled off three career go-ahead homers in the ninth inning or later to win games for the Nationals. All came at Citizens Bank Park:
September 11, 2018: Soto hits solo homer lifts Nats to 7-6 lead (Nats trailed 6-3).
April 9, 2019: Soto hits three-run shot in 10-6 win in 10 innings (Nats trailed 6-1).
July 13, 2019: Soto hits two-run homer in ninth of 4-3 win (Nats trailed 3-0).
Soto remembered the homer here early in the season in a key Nats’ comeback win:
“Yeah. That was another one,” Soto said. “That was good. In that situation, we wasn’t fighting that much against those guys. But right now ...”
Nationals manager Davey Martinez is well aware of what his 20-year-old slugger is capable of accomplishing.
“He doesn’t shy away from big moments, I can tell you that, but he’s just a good hitter,” Martinez said. “He understands when he steps in the batter’s box, he has a plan on what he wants to do.”
Soto went 3-for-5 with the two-run shot and two runs scored. He is hitting .302. Anthony Rendon went 2-for-4 with a run scored to raise his average to .307. Victor Robles went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI.
Even though Aaron Nola was solid, one reason he did not go past six innings is Rendon worked the count against him all night.
“(D)on’t forget that Anthony had a big base hit to set that all up,” Martinez said. “He’s been the constant. I’ve said this before, he’s the guy that makes our lineup go and he came up with a big hit there in that inning.
“We wanted to see pitches against (Nola), we really did, but he was good, and when he can get all his pitches over for strikes, it’s tough, he’s tough,” Martinez said. “But we did a good job of building up his pitch count and fouling some good balls off and got him out of the game.”
The 30-11 run by the Nationals is no joke. It is the best run in franchise history.
“We talked a while ago about just staying positive and just being consistent every day,” Martinez said. “Just play good, consistent baseball every day. I talked since spring training [about] doing the little things, and not beating ourselves.
“Come ready to play and they’ve been doing that and they don’t quit,” the skipper continued. “We talk about this all the time, ‘We can be down, but stay in the game.’ I say, ‘We’ve got the pitching, you guys, hey, we’re down a couple runs, keep fighting, anything can happen.”
* Left-hander Patrick Corbin allowed three runs in six innings, walking two but striking out 10 on 103 pitches, 68 for strikes. It was the first time since July 2013 he had put together back-to-back 10-plus strikeout starts.
“I felt good. I thought I had good command on all my pitches tonight,” Corbin said. “I wouldn’t say mistakes just maybe different pitch selection on a couple, but other than that felt good coming off the break and just tried to out up as many zeros. Pitched out of a couple of jams there and bullpen came in and threw up a bunch of zeros as well and offense came through.
“What a win there. Soto there, great at-bat at the end.”
* Martinez has not yet made a decision about the starter in Baltimore Tuesday night now that Max Scherzer has hit the injured list with a mid-back strain.
“We haven’t decided who it’s going to be, so we’ll wait till probably (Sunday) to figure that out,” Martinez said. “I talked to Max and we decided, he said he felt the same as yesterday, so we decided to just give him those days. We were able to retro it back three days, so he’s available hopefully this weekend.”