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Soto swats Nationals past Brewers 4-3 in NL wild-card stunner

By Alex Butler
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Soto swats Nationals past Brewers 4-3 in NL wild-card stunner
Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto went 1 for 4 with two RBIs in a National League wild card win against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Washington Nationals phenom Juan Soto cleared the bases in the eighth inning to lead his squad to a stunning 4-3 comeback victory against the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League wild-card game Tuesday night.

The Nationals eliminated the Brewers from the Major League Baseball playoffs with the win at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Washington advances to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in a National League division series.

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"[Soto] has done it all year for us," Nationals manager Dave Martinez told reporters. "That's why he's the cleanup hitter. He makes good at-bats and he comes through when we need him to come through.

"He has been unbelievable all year for us."

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Soto stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. The Brewers held a 3-1 lead entering the inning. Michael Taylor, Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman each reached base before Soto stepped into the box to face Brewers reliever Josh Hader.

The Nationals left fielder worked the count even before slicing a 1-1 fastball to right field. Brewers right fielder Trent Grisham misplayed the hit, letting the ball roll toward the warning track. All three Nationals baserunners scored before Soto was thrown out at second base.

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"I was just thinking 'get a base hit to the middle, to try and tie the game,'" Soto told TBS in a postgame interview.

Milwaukee took an early lead on a two-run homer from Yasmani Grandal in the top of the first inning. Brewers slugger Eric Thames increased the lead to 3-0 with a solo shot to lead off the second inning. Nationals shortstop Trea Turner plated the home team's first run with a solo homer in the third frame.

Pitcher Stephen Strasburg earned a postseason win for the Nationals, allowing just two hits in three scoreless innings in relief of starter Max Scherzer, who allowed four hits and three runs in five innings.

Thames was the only player in the game to record multiple hits. The Brewers first baseman went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored for Milwaukee.

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"This is a big win for the guys celebrating right now," Martinez said. "We get to move on and go to Los Angeles ... They played hard all year long. We started off horribly and vowed we wouldn't quit."

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The Dodgers host the Nationals in the first game of the NLDS, at 8:37 p.m. EDT Thursday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

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