NEW YORK -- Over the last two-plus seasons, the Yankees have had the pleasure of watching several talented young players enjoy near-immediate success at the big league level. They witnessed another such performance on Wednesday, but this time, Juan Soto was in the opposing dugout.The 19-year-old phenom homered twice, slugging
NEW YORK -- Over the last two-plus seasons, the Yankees have had the pleasure of watching several talented young players enjoy near-immediate success at the big league level. They witnessed another such performance on Wednesday, but this time, Juan Soto was in the opposing dugout.
The 19-year-old phenom homered twice, slugging a three-run shot off Sonny Gray and a deciding blast off Chasen Shreve, lifting the Nationals to a 5-4 victory over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Soto's seventh-inning homer off Shreve marked the first run allowed by a Yankees reliever in 22 2/3 innings, dating to June 4 at Detroit.
"He has power; super young, a good hitter," Shreve said. "I missed my spot. If you miss your spot to any big league hitter, they're going to get you when you're behind in the count. ... I didn't do my job. We lost the game because of it."
Greg Bird hit his third homer to break a 2-for-23 stretch, and rookie Gleyber Torres belted his 12th for the Yankees, who touched touted prospect Erick Fedde for four runs and six hits over five innings.
Despite throwing 34 pitches in the first inning, Gray held the Nats to an Anthony Rendon sacrifice fly, then settled down with the help of two pickoffs. Gray had two outs and the bases empty in the fourth, but permitted a walk and a hit before Soto lifted a fly ball that barely cleared the left-field fence as Brett Gardner ran out of room.
"I thought it was a foul ball," Gray said. "I was watching the hitter's reaction. I thought it was a foul ball and I thought that if it was fair, Gardy was going to be able to make a play. It kept carrying and carrying. That's kind of how it goes."
• Torres, Soto combine for feat not seen since 1887
Soto's homer off Shreve, a 436-foot drive to a porch area that overlooks the Yankees' bullpen, was decidedly more well-struck. At 19 years and 231 days, Soto is the youngest player to hit a regular-season homer in the Bronx since Ken Griffey Jr. enjoyed a two-homer game on May 30, 1989, at the original Yankee Stadium.
"He's been really good since he came up," manager Aaron Boone said of Soto, who began his season in Class A ball. "From where he started this year to be here, there's good reason. We got a peek at it tonight. A couple big swings that beat us ultimately, but obviously a good-looking young player."
Seven of the eight homers that Gray has surrendered this season have come at home. He worked five innings in a no-decision, permitting four runs and seven hits.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After Soto's second homer gave Washington back the lead, the Yankees had a scoring opportunity in the eighth, as Didi Gregorius worked a one-out walk and Giancarlo Stanton raked his third hit of the game, a single to left field. Ryan Madson recovered to strike out Aaron Hicks and got Miguel Andujar to fly out to left field. The Yankees were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, leaving five men on.
"That's going to happen from time to time," Boone said. "The thing we want to do is create traffic. The more consistently we do that, that's when, over time, the results will be there. And for the most part, they have been. That's baseball. That's going to happen. You're not always going to get the hits."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Gregorius made a sparkling play to rob Rendon of a hit in the top of the ninth inning, diving to his right to field a sharp grounder and then firing across his body while falling to the turf.
Right-hander Domingo German (0-4, 5.32 ERA) will take the ball for his seventh Major League start when the Yankees open a four-game series with the Rays on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET. German struck out nine Mets over six innings of three-run ball in his last start, taking a no-decision in the Yanks' 4-3 win at Citi Field. Left-hander Blake Snell (8-3, 2.30 ERA) will start for Tampa Bay.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.