Juan Soto hits home run in return to D.C. as Padres win 7-4

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Credit: Padres

Juan Soto, Xander Bogaerts, and Jake Cronenworth all homered in the Padres’ win to take the first game of the series.

The San Diego Padres entered Washington D.C. in almost a must-win situation. They got the job done as they took the first game of the series.

Juan Soto returned to his former club, where he helped deliver a World Series title in 2019. At the trade deadline last year, the Nationals traded Soto, along with Josh Bell, to the Friars in exchange for MacKenzie Gore, C.J. Abrams, Robert Hassell III, James Wood, and Jarlin Susana.

Soto stepped up to the plate with two outs in the top of the first inning to a standing ovation from the Nationals crowd. The at-bat lasted five seconds as he smashed the first pitch up the middle at 113 mph. Then, the Padres struck first off of the opposite field home run from Xander Bogaerts.

Bogaerts delivered a much-needed blast for the Padres, who were lacking offense heading into the road trip.

The former Padre started the game for the Nationals. Gore has pitched very well in his first full season in D.C. In 46.1 innings, the southpaw has an ERA of 3.69 with 58 strikeouts. He is also 8th in the MLB in strikeout percentage.

The Padres took advantage of the fact that they knew Gore and his high fastball rate. Soto, Bogaerts, Trent Grisham, and then Brandon Dixon took advantage of it. However, Dixon and Grisham are technically the only former teammates of Gore as they smashed extra-base hits off of him.

Dixon smashed a solo homer to right-center field in the 4th inning.

On the mound for the Friars was Yu Darvish. Darvish bumped up a start to allow him to get a start against the New York Yankees following this series in D.C.

Darvish pitched well in the first four innings allowing just two hits. However, the fifth inning changed as he allowed back-to-back home runs, with one coming from Abrams. The second tied the ballgame 3-3 as Lane Thomas continued his hot streak with a solo shot.

The Padres responded the following half inning as Fernando Tatis Jr. flew out to right field, scoring Rougned Odor. If first baseman Dominic Smith didn’t catch the ball on the relay, then the ball game would have stayed tied.

The Padres kept pushing. Jake Cronenworth sent a 2-run shot to right field to extend the Padres lead to 7-3 in, which they ultimately held on for the win.

San Diego needed this. It had been a tough stretch of games where they lost three straight series. This now makes two consecutive wins, and there is no reason why they can’t sweep this series.

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The Padres play Game 2 Wednesday night as they look to win their first series in quite some time. Ryan Weathers will be on the mound facing Trevor Williams.

Game News & Notes

  • Gore finished his outing going 4.2 innings, allowing seven hits, three earned runs, and three walks with five strikeouts.
  • Darvish ended up going 6.0 innings with four strikeouts allowing just six hits.
  • Grisham reached base four times, going 2-3 with two walks.
  • Soto finished 3-4 bumping his average up to .260
  • Josh Hader earned his 13th save of the season. His ERA sits at 0.90.

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