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Juan Soto returns to D.C. and puts on a show for Nationals fans

The former Nationals All-Star hit two singles and a home run, helping San Diego to a 7-4 victory.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Juan Soto returned to Nationals Park as a member of the San Diego Padres for the second time since being traded away from the team in August 2022, and he showed why the Padres acquired him. He also showed the Nationals why they miss him. Soto helped lead the Padres to a 7-4 win with two singles, a home run, and a walk. After starting the month of May with a .214 batting average, Soto has increased his average to .260 and has nine home runs in 48 games played.

Before the game, Soto talked to his former teammates and coaches, but he also made it clear that he was on a mission before this series started. Soto said via MLB.com, “When it's game time, I'm playing for the team that I have on my chest,” he said. “So I don't care about [ties to the Nationals] then, I told them.” He added, “I told them: ‘I'm going to hit a homer against them."

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On the latest episode of Locked On Nationals, host Ryan Clary discussed what it was like as a Nationals fan to watch Soto have a big offensive night against his former team.

Clary said about Tuesday’s loss, “Man, oh man, that was the worst. And I don’t say that because Juan Soto returned. Juan Soto returning was awesome. I love Juan Soto, I cheer for him. I love the guy. Who doesn’t love Juan Soto in this town? He killed us last night.”

Soto’s first hit of the night was a single up the middle that was 113.8 mph off the bat. Xander Bogaerts drove him in in the next at-bat, going deep to give the Padres a 2-0 lead. After striking out swinging in the third inning, Soto hit another single in the fifth inning. In his next at-bat, Soto hit a 441-foot solo shot to put the Padres up 5-3, and he walked in the eighth inning.

Clary joked that as soon as Soto hit that first single off MacKenzie Gore, he thought, “He’s going to kill us.”

Soto has a lot of great memories attached to his time in Washington, D.C. He won a World Series ring in 2019, was an All-Star twice, won a batting title, and was a Silver Slugger three times. The crowd in D.C. showed their love for Soto by cheering his home run in the seventh inning.

Soto admitted it was more emotional the first time he returned to Washington, D.C.—he made his first return to Nationals Park just ten days after being traded to the Padres. But he spoke fondly of his former team and former home, saying, “It’s where everything started,” He added, “It’s where my dreams started off. It feels amazing to get in that box, even if I’m on another team.”

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