- - Wednesday, June 13, 2018

NEW YORK — Left fielder Juan Soto hit two homers with his uncle in the stands and pitcher Justin Miller picked up a victory on his 31st birthday.

It doesn’t get much better than that except it does. Those milestones were recorded at venerable Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night by first-year Nationals players.

Soto, 19, became the fifth-youngest player to hit two homers in a game and Miller, who didn’t even pitch in the majors last season, improved to 4-0  as the Nationals beat the New York Yankees 5-4 to split the two-game series before a crowd of 45,030.

“One of my best games,” said Soto, who had the night off Tuesday. “I like taking my days off. It helps my body (rest) and everything.”

A left-handed hitter from the Dominican Republic, Soto became the youngest player to homer in the Bronx since the Atlanta Braves’ Andruw Jones in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series against the Yankees.

Soto is real good. How’s that?” manager Dave Martinez said, with a smile. “He came through for us, big time. He understands the game, he understands at-bats. He is learning every day. I am just glad I gave him a day off.”

Soto gave the Nationals a 4-3 lead with a three-run homer off starter Sonny Gray in the fourth, and then broke a 4-4 tie with a 436-foot shot to right in the seventh off lefty reliever Chase Shreve, who like Bryce Harper is from Las Vegas.

That helped the Nationals overcome a sloppy night in the field and on the bases.

“Ugly,” Martinez said.

“His maturity at the plate is unbelievable,” Washington reliever Ryan Madson, who survived an eighth-inning scare, said of Soto. “He is very humble, very respectful.”

So how many texts did Soto have on his phone after the game?

“A lot. I don’t have a number, but it was a lot,” he said.

Miller also has some good numbers with the Nationals. He has not allowed a run in eight games and has allowed just two hits in 10 2/3 innings with 21 strikeouts and no walks.

He struck out four of the six batters he faced Wednesday while recording five outs, after taking over in the sixth inning for starting pitcher Erick Fedde. Closer Sean Doolittle pitched the ninth for the save.

“It is pretty nice. It is (hard) trying to get wins out of the bullpen,” Miller said. “I guess I am in the right spot at the right time.”

Fedde made the fifth start of his big league career and second this season. He did not figure in the decision as he went five innings and gave up six hits and four runs.

Yankee Stadium is pretty special,” he said. “It is still the same game.”

And what about Soto, hitting .344 with five homers in just 20 games?

“It is unbelievably, honestly. He’s a special kid,” said Fedde, who is all of 25 himself.


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