Adam Eaton had his 2-year-old son, Brayden, in his arms about five seconds after stepping outside the Washington Nationals locker room after a 13-7 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
That was the exclamation point on a career day for the Springfield native and former Miami University outfielder. His 5-for-5 performance at Great American Ball Park included two singles, two doubles and a home run. He scored four runs and drove in three runs.
Eaton was limited to 23 games last season because he suffered a knee injury in April. He returned to the field Friday on Opening Day and singled in his first at-bat and scored the first run. He wrote the next chapter in his comeback story in the second game, and the emotions got to him as he rounded the bases after a solo home run.
“I never point or anything before I hit third base,” Eaton said, “but I think the moment got the best of me. I could see my brother and my mom and dad and my wife and my in-laws and former teammates. It’s for them. When we go out there, we don’t stand by ourselves. We stand with a whole lot of people.”
Eaton’s gain was the Reds’ pain. Cincinnati fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2010.
Luis Castillo, the Reds’ best pitcher last season, struggled in the first start of his second season. He gave up six earned runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out six. Matt Adams struck the big blow, hitting a three-run home run in the first.
“He was just OK,” Reds manager Bryan Price said of Castillo. “His command in the zone was not great. Adams got an elevated fastball. They got some good pitches to hit, and good teams don’t miss those pitches.”
Eaton singled in the first, hit a ground-rule double to center field in the second, doubled down the line in right in the fifth, homered in the seventh and drove in two runs with a single in the eighth. He was the lead-off hitter the first four times he came to the plate, and he scored each time. He had 11 four-hit games in his career before this game.
After being blanked 2-0 on Friday, the Reds didn’t put a run on the board until the fourth inning in this game. Scott Schebler ended the scoring drought with a solo home run.
Adam Duvall hit a two-run home run in the eighth. Eugenio Suarez added a two-run home run in the ninth.
The Nationals put the game out of reach for good in the ninth. Brian Goodwin hit a grand slam against Reds reliever Kevin Quackenbush.
“It’s been a good two days,” Eaton said. “Starting off on a big-league roster is a check mark in itself. Winning two games in a row, taking a series on a Saturday is always good, too.”
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