/Soto stars in World Series debut as Nats prevail
Soto stars in World Series debut as Nats prevail

Soto stars in World Series debut as Nats prevail


HOUSTON — Washington Nationals star Juan Soto became the second-youngest player in baseball history to hit a home run in his first World Series game, sending a titanic, 417-foot shot over the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, three days before his 21st birthday.
Soto, who bats left-handed, took American League Cy Young favorite Gerrit Cole deep to the opposite field in the fourth inning of Game 1 between the Nationals and Houston Astros. Only the Atlanta Braves‘ Andruw Jones, who was 19 years, 180 days at the time of his Game 1 homer in the 1996 World Series, was younger.

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“After the first at-bat, I just said, ‘It’s another baseball game,'” Soto said. “In the first at-bat, I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit shaking in my legs.”
Soto is the fourth-youngest player to hit a home run in a World Series game, joining Jones, Miguel Cabrera (20 years, 187 days) and Mickey Mantle (20 years, 352 days), who hit a pair in 1952.
He wasn’t done, either.
In the fifth inning, Soto delivered a two-run double off Cole to deep left field to put Washington ahead 5-2. He finished the game 3-for-4, and his 3 RBIs lifted the Nationals to a 5-4 win over the Astros and a 1-0 lead in the series.
“He’s got kind of the ‘it’ factor,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s got the twitch. He’s got fast hands. He’s got no fear.”
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Juan Soto joins Buster Olney to discuss the Nationals’ 5-4 Game 1 win over the Astros.

As the cleanup hitter for the Nationals in his second major league season, Soto hit .282/.401/.548 with 34 home runs and 110 RBIs. His bases-loaded single in the wild-card game propelled the Nationals into the division series, where his solo home run off Clayton Kershaw in the eighth inning of Game 5 helped send the game to extra innings before Howie Kendrick‘s go-ahead grand slam.
Entering the World Series, Soto was hitting .237/.326/.421 this postseason. In his first at-bat against Cole, he struck out on a high fastball — the same pitch he later hit out for the historic home run.
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