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Soto returns favor, brings bat to 1B on epic HR

Phenom belts go-ahead shot in 5th after Eaton's game-tying blast
@JamalCollier
October 30, 2019

HOUSTON -- By the time Juan Soto dropped his bat at first base, a response to Alex Bregman's trot earlier in the game, the Nationals had the lead once again.

HOUSTON -- By the time Juan Soto dropped his bat at first base, a response to Alex Bregman's trot earlier in the game, the Nationals had the lead once again.

Adam Eaton and Soto both connected with solo homers in the fifth inning against Justin Verlander, turning a one-run deficit into a one-run lead en route to the Nats' 7-2 win over the Astros in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night, as Washington forced a Game 7 on Wednesday night.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 7: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET on FOX

Eaton swatted an 0-1 slider from Verlander over the right-field fence with one out in the inning, his second of the Series. Soto followed it up with two outs by depositing a 3-1 fastball into the upper deck in right field at Minute Maid Park, and like Bregman after his homer in the first inning off Stephen Strasburg, Soto carried his bat up the line and dropped it off with first-base coach Tim Bogar before he hit the bag.

"We didn't like it," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "And the fact that Soto did it, I'll be quite honest with you -- I didn't like it when he did it as well. It's a conversation I'll have with Juan. That's not who we are. I mean, if he feels like he wants to carry the bat all the way to first base, then that's him.

"But I don't like when our guys do it. I don't like the celebration outside the dugout. I've said that before. That's just not who we are."

It was Soto’s third World Series home run, the most by a player 21 years or younger in a single Fall Classic, and at 111.4 mph, it was the Nationals' hardest-hit postseason homer since Statcast began tracking in 2015.

Eaton became the first player in World Series history to have two games with a home run and a sacrifice bunt.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.