WASHINGTON — Aaron Hicks’ go-ahead two-run homer sparked chants of “Let’s go, Yankees!” on the road and helped New York beat Washington 4-2 in the second game of an unusual semi-doubleheader Monday, after pinch-hitter Juan Soto’s tie-breaking two-run shot for the Nationals won the opener 5-3.

These games originally were scheduled more than a month ago, and Game 1 resumed after being suspended because of rain in the middle of the sixth – so technically, Soto managed to homer in a game played before he made his major league debut.

Huh?

The 19-year-old Soto was called up from the minors for the first time five days after Game 1 started on May 15; it picked back up at 3-all and the Nationals about to bat in the bottom of the sixth. After Bryce Harper – who had a full beard back on May 15, when the game began, but was clean-shaven this time – struck out, and Anthony Rendon singled, Soto drove a 97 mph fastball from Chad Green (4-1) to the back of the second deck in right field.

“I thought he had a good chance to hit the ball hard,” Nationals Manager Dave Martinez said. “That was hard.”

It was Soto’s sixth homer since he was brought up from Double-A Harrisburg on May 20 – and second against the Yankees. Soto stood and admired this one before beginning his trot around the bases.

“A pitch right in his hot zone. Soto got us again,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said. “Obviously a really good looking player. Two pretty big shots he’s hit against us.”

Soto also was involved in a double play while playing left in the seventh. Didi Gregorius lined to Soto, and he lobbed the ball to shortstop Trea Turner, who sprinted to second base to double off Gary Sanchez.

Soto’s stats – and all others from Game 1 – will count as being part of the originally scheduled game on May 15, but Soto’s official debut will still be considered to have happened on the actual date it happened, according to the Nationals, citing the Elias Sports Bureau.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

PIRATES 1, BREWERS 0: Trevor Williams pitched one-hit ball over seven innings and two Pirates relievers closed out a two-hitter at Pittsburgh.

Williams (6-4) struck out seven and walked two for his first victory in a month. Jordy Mercer drove in the lone run with a seventh-inning double, and the Pirates won for the fourth time in five games.

The Brewers entered the day leading the NL Central but suffered their third straight loss.

The only hit off Williams was a single by Jonathan Villar with two outs in the fifth. The hit followed a walk to Hernan Perez, and the duo executed a double steal before Erik Kratz struck out to end the inning.

Williams had gone 0-2 in five starts since beating the Chicago White Sox on May 15.

NOTES

NATIONALS-ROYALS TRADE: Washington bolstered its bullpen by acquiring right-hander Kelvin Herrera from the Kansas City Royals for three minor leaguers.

Herrera has 14 saves and a 1.05 ERA this season. He’s allowed three earned runs in 252/3 innings while striking out 22 batters and walking two. He joins lefty closer Sean Doolittle and eighth-inning righty Ryan Madson in the back of Washington’s bullpen.

The Nationals sent infielder Kelvin Gutierrez, outfielder Blake Perkins and right-hander Yohanse Morel to Kansas City in the deal.

INDIANS: Starter Carlos Carrasco only sustained a bruised elbow when he was struck by a line drive against Minnesota. An MRI taken Monday on Carrasco came back negative and the right-hander will likely return once his stint on the disabled list ends.

PHILLIES: The team optioned former closer Hector Neris to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and recalled lefty Austin Davis.

Neris recorded his 10th save in 13 chances by tossing a perfect ninth in Saturday’s 4-1 win at Milwaukee. But he allowed four runs in the ninth in a 10-9 win on Sunday.

The righty had a 6.00 ERA in 30 appearances. Neris had 26 saves in 29 tries last year and was outstanding as a setup man in 2016, posting a 2.58 ERA in 79 games.

DODGERS: Ace Clayton Kershaw took another step forward in his recovery from a strained lower back, throwing a three-inning simulated game before Los Angeles’ series opener against the Chicago Cubs on Monday night.

The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner said he felt really good and plans to pitch somewhere in four or five days, either in a minor league rehab start or for the Dodgers.

ANGELS: Two-way rookie Shohei Ohtani will be re-evaluated within the next three weeks to gauge progress in his recovery from a sprained ligament in his right elbow.

Manager Mike Scioscia said the Angels are “very optimistic” about Ohtani’s prognosis. The Japanese star has been simulating swings with a bat in his left hand and participating in strength training and running for the past three to four days. A right-handed pitcher and left-handed batter, he won’t throw for at least two more weeks.

ASTROS: Houston extended the contract of General Manager Jeff Luhnow through the 2023 season and added president of baseball operations to his title.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.