Washington starter Erick Fedde and reliever Austen Williams gave up home runs to Marcell Ozuna, and the St. Louis Cardinals hit five homers overall to blast the host Nationals 11-8 on Tuesday night in a game that took more than four hours.
Fedde, 25, allowed four runs in five innings while Williams, 25, called up from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday, yielded homers to the first two batters he faced and three overall in the sixth. Williams (0-1) did not allow a homer in the minors this year over 68 innings.
Another Nationals reliever, Sammy Solis, gave up a grand slam in the ninth to Yadier Molina to make it 11-5. The Washington bullpen has allowed 70 homers this year — only the Mets have allowed more in the league.
The Nationals scored three in the ninth but fell short. While the Nationals (69-70) playoff hopes continue to fade, it was another milestone night for left fielder Juan Soto, 19.
He walked in his first at-bat in the second inning, giving him 67 walks this year. That is the most walks for a teenager since Hall of Famer Mel Ott.
Soto was 0-for-3 with two walks and is now hitting just under .300 this year, with 16 homers. He drew a walk with the bases loaded in the fifth.
Another young Nationals outfielder, Victor Robles, was retired as a pinch-hitter in the sixth after getting called up from the minors. It was the first game as teammates at the pro level for Soto and Robles.
“It’s pretty exciting, it really is,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “Everyone fell in love with Soto. Victor Robles is an unbelievable athlete. I truly believe he can help us win games.”
Cardinals slugger Matt Adams, who did not start, was traded by the Nationals to St. Louis last month. Adams played mostly first base and some left field for the Nationals, then lost playing time when Soto was called up May 20 to Washington.
What impressed Adams?
“How mature he is and how well he handles the strike zone,” Adams told The Washington Times of Soto. “He has a good plan and a solid approach and he sticks with it no matter who is on the mound. For the most part, he doesn’t miss it too much when it is over the plate. He is 19 and so gifted. He handles himself like a veteran and that is probably the best way to describe it.”
The Cardinals had too much firepower for the Nationals, who cut the lead to 7-5 with a homer by Wilmer Difo in the sixth.
Ozuna hit his second homer to lead off the sixth off Williams to give the Cardinals a lead of 5-4, then Paul DeJong and Patrick Wisdom later when deep for a 7-4 advantage.
The Nationals had scored four in the fifth to tie the game at 4.
Trea Turner walked with the bases loaded off reliever Tyler Webb and Bryce Harper followed with a two-run double. Two batters later Soto walked with the bases loaded.
Fedde gave up four runs in the second. Ozuna led off with a homer and Matt Carpenter drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single and the other run scored on an error by right fielder Adam Eaton as the Cardinals led 4-0.
St. Louis entered Tuesday 5½ games back of first-place Chicago in the National League Central. The Nationals remain 7½ games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East and are now eight games back of the Cardinals for the second wild-card slot.
“It is something special going on with this team and it is nice to be a part of it,” said Adams, who played for the Cardinals last year.
Tanner Roark (8-14, 4.03) is scheduled to start Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. against the Cardinals, who will pitch right-hander Mike Mikolas (13-4, 2.96) in the series finale.