Special thanks to guest contributor Jordan Fiedel for this game summary.
On a night where it seemed the Nationals would keep running themselves into a loss, they were carried by the bat of 19 year-old Juan Soto, who accounted for four of the Nationals’ five runs.
Sonny Gray opened the game for the Yankees, carrying a 7.22 ERA at home this season. The opening inning seemed to tell the whole story, when Sonny was forced to throw 34 pitches, the most first inning pitches by a Yankee this season. He was lucky to escape with just one run courtesy of an Anthony Rendon sac fly.
The Nationals’ prospect, Erick Fedde, was on the bump for the opposition last night. The Yankees quickly responded after Brett Gardner singled up the middle and advanced to third after a throwing error on Gardner’s steal attempt of second base. He jogged on home after a deep sacrifice fly by Aaron Judge to tie up the ballgame.
Sonny Gray found himself in some more trouble in the top of the second, after an Matt Adams single and Juan Soto walk. Wilmer Difo then hit a sharp liner caught by Gleyber Torres at second and was doubled up after Torres flipped to Didi Gregorius covering the bag at second. Soto was then picked off at first which was the first of a few base running errors by the Nats.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Yankees would take the lead after a towering solo shot from Greg Bird.
In the third, the Nationals’ base running woes continued after Adam Eaton attempted to stretch his base hit to a double, and was gunned down by Brett Gardner in left. Following this offensive error, a second National was picked off, this time it was the speedy Trea Turner.
The Yanks increased their lead in their half of the third inning which started with an Aaron Judge deep double. Judge was advanced to third on the Didi groundout, which lead to Judge scoring on a Giancarlo Stanton base hit to left field making the score 3-1.
This lead would quickly vanish, even after quick outs by dangerous hitters in Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. But this would be followed with a Daniel Murphy walk and Matt Adams base hit. Then, the number two prospect for the Nationals, Juan Soto, struck a high fly ball to left field which just kept carrying, eventually over the left field wall, lifting the Nats to a 4-3 lead.
Another youngster, this time the 21 year old in pinstripes, proved how crucial he is to his club. Gleyber Torres tied the game at four runs a pair when he launched a 435 foot home run to the back of the visitors bullpen in left field.
In the top of the seventh inning, Chasen Shreve came out for his second inning of work, but this time it wasn’t as easy as his first 1-2-3 half. Juan Soto came to punish the Yankees again and absolutely destroyed a ball over the Yankee bullpen, which gave the Nats a 5-4 lead.
Greg Bird started off the bottom half of the seventh with a double but was left stranded at second. Romine, Torres, and Gardner were retired in order and the Nationals lead stayed put.
David Robertson relieved Chasen Shreve in the eighth and gave up a single to Adam Eaton, the first batter he faced. Eaton was pinch run for by Michael Taylor, one of the best base stealers in the league. But the poor baserunning theme continued and Taylor was thrown out on a beautiful tag by Gleyber Torres that narrowly beat Taylor’s hand to the bag.
The Yankees looked for some late heroics in the eighth inning. Ryan Madson was the pitcher and found himself in a tad bit of trouble. With one out, Didi Gregorius walked and Giancarlo Stanton weakly hit a single to left field, but Aaron Hicks’ slow season continued with a strikeout swinging, and Madson got the hot Miguel Andujar to fly out to left to end the inning
Jonathan Holder continued his great season and kept the score steady, allowing the Yankees one last opportunity against the Nationals’ All-Star closer, Sean Doolittle. But Doolittle kept his dominant ways striking out Greg Bird, getting Austin Romine to lineout, and then forcing a pop up by Gleyber Torres to end the game.
The Yankees now know what it feels like to be punished by another team’s rookie, just like how other teams have been agonizing about Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. The Yankees look to bounce back against the Rays tonight at home at 7:05 PM.