WASHINGTON (AP) — For all he's already done — youngest NL batting champion in history, World Series champion, runner-up for Rookie of the Year, popular pick for 2021 MVP — Juan Soto never had produced a game-ending hit.

Until Tuesday. Until the coronavirus-depleted Washington Nationals finally started their season, five days later than scheduled because of an outbreak that involved 11 players. Until Soto stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with the score tied, two men aboard and what up to then was an 0-for-4 day, and watched three straight balls go by from lefty reliever Will Smith.

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