WASHINGTON (AP) — On a night when Juan Soto was cheered by fans of his old team, his new club was more concerned about another Dominican player, who was absent and will be for a while.
Soto had a pair of hits and brought the crowd to its feet, who cheered him on his return to Washington, during the matchup that the San Diego Padres won 10-5 over the Nationals on Friday to take some comfort after the 80-game suspension. imposed on Fernando Tatis Jr. for testing positive for a drug.
“This has been a blow to us,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin acknowledged. “We will have to move on. I appreciate the acquisitions we made before the deadline.”
Soto, one of the best hitters in the majors at 23 and a 2019 World Series champion with Washington, was traded to San Diego on Aug. 2.
The transaction has now become more relevant for San Diego, given the punishment that will marginalize Tatis, also from Quito, from the rest of the current campaign and from the first 32 commitments of the next one.
Tatis tested positive for clostebol, an anabolic steroid. He claims to have accidentally taken it as part of a medication.
San Diego now holds the third wild-card berth in the NL playoffs, and general manager AJ Peller said during the meeting that Tatis’s suspension doesn’t change his expectations for the season. However, he acknowledged that the club’s confidence in the star has deteriorated.
The Padres also got first baseman Josh Bell in the trade with Washington, a rebuilding team.
“If Tatis comes back, maybe this offense will get better with all those trades, but we’re not counting on that,” Preller said. “So now, I look back and probably the deals we made are more important.”
Soto has reached base in every game with the Padres. He came close to hitting his second home run with his new team, hitting a double off the right-field wall in the fifth inning that gave the visitors five runs.
In that same episode, he hit an RBI single to Austin Nola.
And in the eighth, he lofted a ball 390 feet from home plate, all the way to the warning strip in center field.
Starter Mike Clevinger (4-4) allowed one run and three hits in five innings, during which he walked four.
Cory Abbott (0-2) pitched four innings, allowing the same number of hits, plus three runs.
For the Padres, the Dominicans Soto 6-2 with one run scored and one RBI, Manny Machado 5-2 with two runs scored and two RBIs.
For the Nationals, the Dominicans Maikel Franco 1-1 with a run scored and an RBI, Nelson Cruz 4-0 with an RBI. Cuban Yadiel Hernández 2-0. The Mexican Joey Meneses 4-2 with a run scored. The Venezuelans Keibert Ruiz 5-1 with an RBI, César Hernández 4-0 with an RBI, Ildemaro Vargas 4-2 with a run scored and an RBI.