WASHINGTON -- On the first day with their teenage rookie sensation, Juan Soto, in the lineup, the Nationals were energized by their newest spark. Washington connected on four home runs and a season-high nine extra-base hits, as it hammered Padres pitching to a 10-2 victory on Monday night at Nationals
WASHINGTON -- On the first day with their teenage rookie sensation, Juan Soto, in the lineup, the Nationals were energized by their newest spark. Washington connected on four home runs and a season-high nine extra-base hits, as it hammered Padres pitching to a 10-2 victory on Monday night at Nationals Park.
Mark Reynolds swatted a pair of home runs, Bryce Harper connected with his National League-leading 14th homer and Soto hit his first career home run on the first pitch he saw. Left-hander Giovany Gonzalez made it all hold up with seven innings of two-run, two-hit ball.
But it began with Soto, who got the Nats on the board by launching an opposite-field three-run homer in the second inning against Padres left-hander Robbie Erlin. It prompted a standing ovation and curtain call from the crowd of 27,890 fans and set the tone for the Nats' bats.
"When he hit that ball, everyone was jacked up," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "Shortly after that, we hit the ball pretty good."
• Soto homers on 1st pitch in 1st start
Soto, the club's No. 2 prospect and No. 15 in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline, became the first 19-year-old to homer in the Majors since Harper did so back in September 2012. He finished the night 2-for-4 with three RBIs as his parents watched from the stands.
"The guys, they tell me, 'Hey, go out! They're calling you,'" Soto said of his curtain call. "I think it was [Michael A.] Taylor who said, 'Hey, go ahead, go ahead.'"
Not to be outdone, Harper added his own opposite-field homer in the fifth against Padres reliever Bryan Mitchell. Harper also collected a run-scoring double in his first at-bat for his first game with two extra-base hits since a two-homer game on May 4.
"I thought as a team, we really swung the bat well," Harper said. "Really jumped on them early and did the things we could to put some runs up there on the board. Of course, it started with that three-run homer by Soto. Got it going and we never stopped."
• Soto does Harper hair flip after HR
The offense did not relent, as Reynolds provided his own share of damage, with solo home runs in the third and seventh innings for his second multi-homer game of the season and the 27th of his career, after signing with the Nationals in mid-April.
Gonzalez was brilliant again, as he gave up two earned runs or fewer for the ninth time in 10 starts this season. That's the second most in baseball, trailing only teammate Max Scherzer.
But the night belonged to Soto, who only added to the hype surrounding a player who was in Class A less than a month ago.
"It's exciting. It's uplifting," Martinez said. "Here's a young man getting a chance to play in the big leagues at an early age. It pumps everyone up. To watch him do what he did today -- not only the home run, but the base hit up the middle, the two-strike hard ground ball, the line drive with two strikes, all those things … that's pretty impressive."
• Nats' academy kids react to Soto's first homer
Since 1965, only six players have homered in a Major League game at a younger age than Soto:
2012: Jurickson Profar, Rangers
1998: Adrian Beltre, Dodgers
1996: Andruw Jones, Braves
1989: Ken Griffey Jr., Mariners
1974: Robin Yount, Brewers
1970: Cesar Cedeno, Astros
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Tim Collins had not pitched in a Major League game since 2014, and after two Tommy John surgeries and countless hours of rehab, he returned to a big league mound in the eighth inning on Monday night. Collins, who was called up earlier in the day in place of the injured Ryan Madson, pitched a scoreless eighth inning with a pair of strikeouts, completing an emotional day for him.
"Great, great story," Martinez said. "Here's a guy that had two Tommy John surgeries, three years of building up, gets a chance to come back in the big leagues. He went out there and I was really pumped up for him. Emotions were high right there when he came out. It really was. I'm waiting for him right now. I'm going to go tell him, 'Hey, I'm really proud of you man.' Just a testament to what kind of guy he is."
• Collins called up, records first K since 2014
The last time Jeremy Hellickson pitched against the Padres, he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and finished with his best start of the season at 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a victory on May 8. He will face San Diego again on Tuesday night at Nationals Park, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. ET. Eric Lauer will start for the Padres.
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.