Soto's epic HR highlights Nats' barrage at Citi

August 11th, 2020

launched a homer on Monday where only a few have reached at Citi Field.

With the Nationals leading by three runs, the left fielder unloaded a two-run shot in the third inning against Mets starter Steven Matz that soared over the Home Run Apple and traveled a projected 463 feet with an exit velocity of 108.6 mph, per Statcast.

“I followed the ball all the way,” Soto said following the Nationals’ dominating 16-4 win. “I wanted to see if I got it in the apple. I saw it, and it was way far.”

Manager Dave Martinez said Soto had been launching balls in that direction during batting practice. Doing it in a game, though, is a different story. It was the longest home run of the 21-year-old's career and the fourth longest at Citi Field since Statcast began tracking in 2015, behind Giancarlo Stanton (468 feet in 2017), Kyle Schwarber (467 feet, 2017) and Freddie Freeman (464 feet, 2015).

“You don't even feel it,” Soto said of hitting home runs. “You just see the ball jumping off the bat and don't feel anything. Just try to run and try to enjoy and run the bases. It's just a good feeling.”

Soto’s 58th career home run and second of 2020 was just one of the many standout performances up and down the Nationals’ lineup, which tallied 17 hits. This game marked the first time in franchise history in which three players all recorded at least three hits, three RBIs and a home run. Soto went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.

Switch-hitting veteran led Washington with two doubles, two home runs and five RBIs in a 4-for-4 performance against his former team.

“He's a professional hitter,” Martinez said. “When he gets like that and he gets hot like that, he can do some damage.”

The versatile infielder got the start at first base, and Cabrera showed he still was comfortable playing in the stadium he called home for parts of three seasons.

“I like to hit in this ballpark,” Cabera said. “I feel really good at the plate when I play here. I think I got a little lucky on that swing [on the second home run], too.”

After snapping an 0-for-18 skid on Saturday, also had a big game with three hits, including his second homer of the season, and three RBIs. His 396-foot blast to left field had just a .220 expected batting average, but it left the yard. Martinez has emphasized Turner getting hot at the top of the order as a key to the Nats’ success.

“He's another one today that really was trying to stay in the middle of the field,” Martinez said. “The biggest thing with him is swinging at strikes. He was able to do that today, and he hit the ball really well.”

Soto’s monster shot headlined the victory, but the fact that it was a total team effort made it that much sweeter for the Nationals, who were looking to get back on track on the road after dropping their previous three games at home. The joy of a collaborative win was evident when Martinez carried Cabrera through the dugout on his back after his second homer.

“It was fun,” Cabrera said. “Davey is strong because I weigh 230 [pounds]. So I don't know if he's going to be fine tomorrow, but he's fine tonight.”