Gomes 'extremely impressed' with maturity of Victor Robles, Juan Soto

Chris Lingebach
April 10, 2019 - 3:11 pm

The Nationals evened their season record against the Phillies again Tuesday night after closing a five-run deficit and exploding offensively in extra innings.

It was the young bats of 21-year-old Victor Robles and 20-year-old Juan Soto that pushed them over the top with a pair of late-inning home runs. After going down 6-1 in the fourth inning, the Nats battled back, chipping away, chipping away at the Phillies' lead, finally closing the gap in the top of the ninth to force extra innings.

Yan Gomes hit the first of a pair of Nats homers in the seventh, his a two-run shot to left center to bring Washington within two runs of the Phillies. Howie Kendrick's solo homer two batters later would make it 6-5. And the Nats would tie the game 6-6 with a clutch Robles homer two innings later in the ninth.

Washington took full control in the 10th, exploding for four runs on six hits, including a three-run bomb from Juan Soto that towered above the right-field foul pole, enough to warrant a review, which upheld the fair call.

"It's unbelievable, man," catcher Yan Gomes said of the youthful duo on 106.7 The Fan's Grant & Danny. "I mean, I've gotten to play with some pretty good, young guys, but these guys, they're unbelievable. I'm extremely impressed with how mature they handle themselves and how they come in the ballpark every day and the at-bats that they're having."

"I mean, you'll see power. That kind of comes with the younger guys now, I think," he said. "A lot of the younger guys have so much tremendous power, but I mean these guys are putting up actual mature, big-league at-bats.

"You see it from Robles. In that at-bat it kind of looked like he took some ugly swings, and then he zoned in and took it into the last strike. It's unbelievable. Those are the kind of things you're gonna build off of and we're excited that it's happening so early with these guys."

Robles battled Phillies righty Edubray Ramos for five pitches, working him to a 2-2 count before homering off an 82 MPH slider. Robles and Soto combined for five RBI, half of the Nats' run production in the 10-6 win. On the season, Robles and Soto are batting .324 and .270, respectively, combining for five homers and seven doubles through 10 games.

Bryce Harper launched a three-run bomb in the bottom of the third to put the Phils up 4-1, which looked like another grim dagger for the Nationals in the early going. Harper threw some shade at his former club as he was rounding third, covering his face with his right hand as he trotted past the Nationals in the visiting dugout.

Asked if the Nats even noticed, Gomes carefully replied, "Ah, no, man. I'm not worried about what he does or... I mean, he can keep having this little– obviously this rivalry with any time he ever does something against us, but once something like that happens, you're kind of having to turn the page and figure out how to get the next guy out."

"He can do whatever he wants to do," he said. "I mean, we've just got to move on. I was more worried about how I was gonna get Stras through the next batter or next inning."

Gomes also treaded lightly while commenting on the suspensions of Pirates starter Chris Archer and Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig, who started a melee in Pittsburgh on Sunday. The fracas stemmed from Archer throwing behind Reds first baseman Derek Dietrich, who had pimped a home run two innings earlier. Puig responded to Archer throwing behind Dietrich by charging the mound from the dugout.

The whole thing sparked a dialogue throughout baseball about whether it's fair for pitchers to throw at batters, since the latter can't retaliate in the same way. Another nuance to the conversation, Archer is known to celebrate strikeouts with his own flare for the dramatic. 

"I think we have to just understand that there's no double standard," Gomes weighed in. "If guys are gonna do one thing, understand that there might be a consequence and guys might do something else. If you're a pitcher that celebrates their strikeouts, you might be influencing batters to celebrate their homers."

"I'm a guy that just tries to play the game hard, play the game the right way," he said. "And I'm not saying... playing the 'right way' is probably not even... I mean, the game's kind of evolving and changing, but, I just kind of try to put my head down and go. It's happening more and more often, and if you try, I guess, kind of like what Archer tried to do, retaliate – hey man, I'm not trying to go five games without being paid, man. Not only am I not [unintelligible> my bank account, but my wife's not gonna be very happy about that. I'm just the kind of guy that, I'm representing more than just myself and kind of try to play the game that way."

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