HOUSTON — In the first inning of Game 6 of the World Series, the Houston Astros took a 2-1 lead after an Alex Bregman solo home run, which the All-Star third baseman celebrated by carrying his bat to first base.
It may have taken a few innings, but Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto ultimately returned the favor.
Two batters after Adam Eaton's solo home run in the top of the fifth inning tied the contest at 2, Soto broke the tie with a 413-foot blast into the right-field stands of Minute Maid Park. And as soon as it was evident his hit would clear the fence, Soto took off running to first base, carrying his bat in a manner that not-so-subtly emulated Bregman.
After the game, Washington manager Dave Martinez said that "we didn't like it" when Bregman carried his bat to first base, he also noted that he wasn't a fan of Soto's celebration either.
"That's not who we are," Martinez said.
Nevertheless, Soto's home run off of Astros starter Justin Verlander couldn't have come at a better time for the Nationals, who entered Game 6 trailing Houston three games to two in the best-of-seven series. Washington went on to win the game 7-2, forcing a winner-take-all Game 7 in Houston on Wednesday night.
Should the Nationals emerge victorious, the 21-year-old Soto will have made a compelling case to be named the series' MVP. Entering Tuesday, Soto had amassed a .333 batting average (1.232 OPS), 2 home runs and 5 RBIs through the first five games of the World Series.
With his home run on Tuesday, Soto became the youngest player to hit three home runs in a World Series.