Juan Soto hits walk-off in Nationals opener as Braves lose despite hitting four homers off Max Scherzer

Juan Soto hits walk-off in Nationals opener as Braves lose despite hitting four homers off Max Scherzer

The Nationals were finally able to return to the field on Tuesday, after a five-day delay due to COVID-19 issues. They had to open their season shorthanded, but still, it was nice that they had their home fans on hand for the first time since winning the 2019 World Series. 

They even re-raised the 2019 World Series champions banner for the benefit for the 5,000 or so fans in attendance. A nice moment that would’ve been a lot better in front of a full house in 2020, but hey, in his day and age we cherish the good moments as they come. 

Unfortunately for the Nationals fans in attendance, the Braves didn’t get caught up in the moment. Fortunately for the Nationals fans in attendance, the Nats had the last laugh. They would win in walk-off fashion to cap off a wild game. 

First, Ronald Acuna rudely greeted the first pitch he saw from Nationals ace Max Scherzer (and the first pitch of the Nationals’ season):

That wasn’t cheap. Neither was Freddie Freeman’s shot later in the inning, nor was Dansby Swanson’s shot to lead off the second or Acuna’s second homer of the game to lead off the third. 

Of note here is this is the third straight season Scherzer has allowed a first-inning homer on Opening Day. In 2019, it was Robinson Cano of the Mets, last season it was Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees — how could we forget that game after the extended delay to start the year? — and then this time around it was Acuna and Freeman. Not only that, but Scherzer had allowed four home runs in the game. This marks just the third time in his career that has happened. 

  • On April 3, 2011, the Yankees hit four off of him. That was pre-prime Max when he was in Detroit and those Yankees would lead the league in homers. 
  • On May 6, 2016, the Cubs hit four. I think we all remember the 2016 Cubs. 

These Braves have a powerful offense as well. And keep in the mind the long delay before Scherzer had a competitive stint on the mound. 

Still, the Nationals never went away. They scored two runs in the second and Trea Turner tied it in the third with a two-run shot. They fell behind in the seventh, but tied things up in the eighth. Then in the ninth, Victor Robles singled before Turner was hit by a pitch, clearing the way for — who else? — Juan Soto. He walked things off by lining a single to center field.

It’s pretty safe to say that was worth the wait for the Nationals and their fans. What a crazy game. Meanwhile, the Braves fall to 0-4 despite hitting four home runs off Max Scherzer. 

These two teams will do battle again on Wednesday for a doubleheader.

About Author

Deon Kayden

Deon Kayden is an American sportswriter and media personality. He has also authored numerous baseball books.

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