WASHINGTON (AP)Victor Robles jump-started Washington’s dormant offense by delivering three hits and four RBIs, including a homer he celebrated by pantomiming pandemic-appropriate ”air high-fives” with teammates, helping the Nationals beat the New York Yankees 9-2 on Saturday night without scratched starter Stephen Strasburgand despite five errors.
Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael A. Taylor also homered for Washington, which lost 2019 World Series MVP Strasburg to a nerve issue in his pitching hand two days after putting slugger Juan Soto on the COVID-19 injured list because he tested positive for the illness.
Filling in for Strasburg, Erick Fedde allowed a pair of runs in four innings, including Giancarlo Stanton’s second homerin two games.
Stanton, who knelt alongside teammate Aaron Hicks during the national anthem, sent a solo shot to left measured at 483 feet with an exit velocity of 121.3 mph. It was the 2017 NL MVP’s 36th homer against Washington, the most of any active player.
With Max Scherzer and other Nationals starting pitchers – although not Strasburg – sitting somewhat spread out about 10 rows behind home plate, Fedde was followed by four relievers, who gave up three hits across five scoreless innings.
Tanner Rainey (1-0) got three outs for the win.
After losing Soto on opening day, then managing one hit against Gerrit Cole in a rain-shortened 4-1 loss to the Yankees, the Nationals got going in Game 2 with four consecutive hits off James Paxton (0-1) in the second.
The biggest was Robles’ two-run double. One walk later, Paxton was done after 41 pitches – and just three outs. The lefty went 11-0 over his last 14 starts in 2019, including the playoffs.
Robles added a two-run homer in the fourth, then singled in the sixth.
The teams combined for seven errors – two by Nationals shortstop Trea Turner on a single play, one fielding and one throwing.
Washington C Tres Barrera was suspended 80 games without pay by MLB after testing positive for an anabolic steroid. The 25-year-old made his major league debut last September.
LHP Fernando Abad signed a minor league contract with the Yankees about a week after he was released by the Nationals. New York added Abad to its 60-man roster and assigned him to its alternate training site.
Yankees: 2B DJ LeMahieu made his season debut after having COVID-19, leading off and playing five innings in the field. That meant manager Aaron Boone was able to use his team’s preferred nine starters. Last year, with so many injuries up and down the roster, the Yankees did not start the same lineup for three consecutive games until the AL Division Series. … Boone said LHP Zack Britton would be his primary closer while Aroldis Chapman is on the COVID-19 injured list.
Nationals: Carter Kieboom has what manager Dave Martinez described as a ”little, slight groin issue” that affects his lateral movement, so Kieboom was in the lineup as the DH instead of at 3B.
LHP Patrick Corbin begins his second season of a $140 million, six-year deal with Washington by starting Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, who are expected to go with a mix of relievers. Boone would not announce a starting pitcher for Sunday before Saturday’s game, saying: ”We’ve got to see what unfolds tonight.”
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