Two very tight divisional races continued to intersect on Wednesday night in Major League Baseball. Both the National League and American League East Divisions have been facing each other in interleague play, and that has been affecting the standings already, and it promises to do so as the summer rolls on. Wednesday night’s national TV game between the Washington Nationals of the NL East and the New York Yankees of the AL East certainly lived up to expectations.
The hero of the game in the Bronx, one of the most famous places any fan or just person in general would want to go to, was Juan Soto. The 19 year old, called up just about a month ago now, hit two home runs to help edge the Nats out to a 5-4 win over the Yankees. The last 19 year old to have hit two home runs at Yankee Stadium (yes, we all know that it’s not the same one) was Ken Griffey, Jr. back in 1989. He’s the youngest player since Andruw Jones, playing for the Braves in 1996 in the World Series, to hit two home runs on the Bronx.
And what a time to do so. His first homer was a towering fly ball that looked like it could be caught. But it was placed just perfectly, right beside the left field foul line to ensure that he along with two of his teammates scored. It was pivotal due to the fact that they have gotten themselves thrown out on the bases earlier in the game with poor base running. From there, they took a lead, but the Yankees would get the game back to 4-4 ahead of the seventh inning. That’s when Soto took a fastball from reliever Chasen Shreve and turned on it to hit his second home run and end up winning the game for the Nationals by that run.
While there is still a long, long way to go in the race for the top spot in these divisions, it was still a good result. Washington came into the game 1.5 behind the Braves after Atlanta had played earlier in the day and won. A loss would have heaped more pressure upon the Nats, so the win did them a lot of good. With the loss, the Yankees are now a game behind the Red Sox, in what has also been a very back-and-forth sort of race so far. Don’t be surprised to see more interleague drama unfold as these four teams jockey for position all summer long.