BOSTON – Juan Soto grew up in the Dominican Republic watching Manny Ramirez play left field in Boston, and the Nationals slugger was looking forward to playing in the shadow of the Green Monster in his first visit to Fenway Park.
Instead, Soto was in the lineup at designated hitter and had to settle for imitating Ramirez at the plate.
Soto and Howie Kendrick hit back-to-back homers in Washington's five-run third inning, and Max Scherzer struck out 11 to lead the Nationals to a 10-2 victory over the Red Sox on Friday night.
"Juan is a big Manny fan. He was disappointed" he didn't play the field, Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. “We’ll see. He’ll be back out there tomorrow.”
A day after both teams’ games were postponed in the sport’s racial justice awakening, they returned for Jackie Robinson Day, lining up along the baselines before the game to listen to a recorded speech from the player who broke baseball’s color barrier. Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. — the only Black player on the last team in the majors to integrate — knelt for the national anthem, with teammate Alex Verdugo taking a knee beside him.
“I think it was a great day for us to come back and play, and represent him well,” said Josh Harrison, who also homered for Washington. "It allowed us to take a step back and realize why we're all here. There’s a reason we play together ... because others made the sacrifices."
Trea Turner and Victor Robles had three hits apiece for Washington, which handed Scherzer (3-1) a 5-0 lead in the third. The three-time Cy Young Award winner allowed one run and six hits in six innings, winning his third straight decision and matching his season high for strikeouts.
It was his 97th game with double-digit strikeouts, tying Sandy Koufax for fifth on the career list.