CINCINNATI (AP) — Juan Soto hit a three-run homer and a solo shot, and Maikel Franco and Luis Garcia drove in ninth-inning runs to rally the Washington Nationals to a 10-8 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
The Reds led 7-3 after a five-run fifth inning that included Albert Almora Jr.’s second career grand slam.
Soto’s three-run shot in the seventh got the Nats within a run. In the eighth, Franco singled, took two bases on a wild pitch and trotted home on Garcia’s double to tie the score. In the ninth, Reds reliever Hunter Strickland (0-2) surrendered three more runs on four singles.
Tanner Rainey, the last of six Nationals pitchers, came on in the ninth and gave up a homer to Brandon Drury and a single to Tommy Pham, but got Joey Votto to fly out to left and struck out Tyler Stephenson to end it.
Kyle Finnegan (2-1) , who pitched a hitless eighth inning, got the win for Washington, and Rainey picked up his seventh save.
Reds starter Tyler Mahle worked six solid innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, all in the fourth, and struck out six.
Kyle Farmer’s bases-loaded single drove in the Reds‘ first two runs in the first inning.
In the fourth, Mahle left a splitter up in the zone to Soto, who crushed a 423-foot homer to center. The Nationals then loaded the bases and pushed across two more on Franco’s base hit and a sacrifice fly before Mahle could work out of it.
The Reds put two runners on in the fifth, chasing Nationals starter Erick Fedde. Reliever Jordan Weems walked the bases full and walked in a run in before Almora hit a 1-1 slider into the left-field seats for his second homer of the season and his first grand slam since 2019, when he played for the Cubs.
After a good outing on Friday night with Triple-A Rochester, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was expected to join the team in Cincinnati on Saturday. Manager Dave Martinez said he expected to talk to Strasburg after the game to see how soon he can plug him into the rotation.
The Nationals send left-hander Patrick Corbin (1-8, 6.96 ERA) against Reds right-hander Luis Castillo (2-2, 3.38 ERA) in the series finale on Sunday. Corbin was pummeled in his last start Tuesday against the Mets. He allowed seven runs and 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings and took the loss. Castillo gave up one hit and no runs through six innings in Tuesday’s win over the Red Sox.
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