Braves walk 14 in loss to Nats
ATLANTA — Washington Nationals rookie Juan Soto shrugged off his latest accomplishment after showing what he can do on the bases.
“I stole three bags, and I helped my team to win,” the 19-year-old left fielder said. “That’s pretty good.”
Soto become the youngest MLB player to steal three bases in a game, drove in a run and scored the tiebreaking run to help the Nationals stop the Atlanta Braves’ season-best winning streak at six games with a 7-1 victory Saturday.
Soto hit an RBI single in the first inning and stole second, then walked in the fourth, stole two bases and came home on a bases-loaded walk for a 2-1 lead. He surpassed the mark set by the Oakland Athletics’ Rickey Henderson at 20 years, 241 days on Aug. 23, 1979, against the Cleveland Indians, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Soto began the day with two stolen bases this season, but his video study showed he could run on Atlanta starter Julio Teheran.
“Yes, I saw the pitcher and saw a couple of things I could take advantage of,” said Soto, whose birthday is Oct. 25. “Every time I’m on base, I try to take advantage of the pitcher.”
Soto extended his on-base streak to 20 games to join Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Mickey Mantle as the only teenagers to do so.
“That guy doesn’t surprise me,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “He pays attention to what’s going on. He’s a student of the game. He felt like he had an opportunity to run on certain guys, and he did.”
Atlanta entered with a 7 1/2game lead over second-place Philadelphia in the NL East.
Teheran gave up two runs, three hits and a career-high six walks in four innings. Atlanta pitchers totaled 14 walks, increasing the team’s two-game total to 20.
“We’ve got to be aware of that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We’re winning some games with high walk totals, and eventually that’s going to bite you. You can’t have that.”
Atlanta rookie outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., the majors’ slugging percentage leader since the All-Star break, singled in the first, took third on Hellickson’s two-base throwing error and scored on Freddie Freeman’s sacrifice fly to make it 1-1.
Washington opened a 5-1 lead in the sixth, when Adam Eaton hit a run-scoring double and Anthony Rendon had a two-run double off Touki Toussaint, who walked four in the inning — one intentionally.
Nationals starter Jeremy Hellickson may miss the rest of the season after re-injuring his right wrist while batting in the fourth inning.
Hellickson sprained his right wrist Aug. 15 when he landed awkwardly while covering home plate after throwing a wild pitch at St. Louis. He made his first appearance since and got hurt again. He is scheduled for an MRI today.
Washington’s Jefry Rodriguez (3-2) relieved to start the bottom of the fourth and pitched 4 2/3 hitless innings. He also got his first RBI in the majors.
The Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto steals third base as Atlanta Braves third baseman Charlie Culberson tries to make a tag after going high for the ball during the fourth inning of Saturday’s game in Atlanta.
Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman connects for a sacrifice fly to center field during the first inning Saturday. Ronald Acuna Jr. scored on the play.