Adam Eaton rounded second base on his homer, glanced toward the stands and spotted his parents, brother, wife and former college teammates cheering. He pointed his right index finger toward them, his way of sharing the big day.
Eaton had solo homer among his career-high five hits and Brian Goodwin hit his first career grand slam on Saturday, powering the Washington Nationals to a 13-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
The Nationals leadoff hitter grew up in southwest Ohio and attended Miami University, a 45-minute drive north of Great American Ball Park. After tearing the ACL in his left knee last April, he wasn’t sure how much he’d be able to play in the season-opening series near his home.
“It’s been a good two days,” Eaton said. “Starting off on a big league roster is a check mark in itself. It’s been two really good days to start off for the team.”
The Nationals have won their first two games under new manager Dave Martinez, hired after Dusty Baker was fired last season following another quick exit in the playoffs. The last time they opened a season 3-0 was 2013, when they swept the Marlins.
Washington won the rain-delayed opener 2-0 on Friday behind Max Scherzer’s 10 strikeouts in six innings. The Nationals broke out the bats in the second game, and their leadoff hitter got a potent offense going on a breezy, 59-degree afternoon.
“We want to keep him fresh the whole season,” Martinez said. “Right now, he feels really, really good.”
Easton had a single, a pair of doubles, a homer and a bases-loaded single in his five at-bats. He scored four times and drove in three runs as the Nationals went ahead 9-3.
And he had that special family moment as he rounded the bases on his homer.
“It’s for them,” he said.
In his first two games, Easton is 6 for 8 and had scored five times.
“What a difference he might’ve made of they’d had him all last year,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He’s a terrific player. They felt he was a difference-maker. Having him at the top of their order gives them a different look.”
Goodwin hit his slam in the ninth off Kevin Quackenbush. Matt Adams had a three-run homer, and Trea Turner added a solo shot as the Nationals homered four times in all.
Stephen Strasburg (1-0) gave up three runs — only one earned — in 6 1/3 innings while improving to 5-1 career against Cincinnati. Scott Schebler’s homer in the fourth inning provided Cincinnati’s first run of the season after 12 scoreless innings.
The Nationals piled up six runs in six innings off Luis Castillo (0-1), the Reds’ top young starter last season. Adams connected in the first inning for a 460-foot homer to center field, his first of the season. Turner’s solo shot off the facing of the upper deck in the fourth also was his first of the season.
It was only the second time in Nationals history that a player had at least five hits with three extra-base hits and three RBIs. Anthony Rendon also did it on April 30, 2017. Eaton’s previous high was four hits in a game. He’s now had four or more hits 12 times.
The Nationals have won their last seven games at Great American Ball Park. … Turner is 13 for 25 in eight career games against the Reds. … The Reds have allowed at least 10 runs in 23 games since the start of last season, most in the NL, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The Reds signed right-hander Yovani Gallardo to a one-year deal for $750,000 and optioned right-hander Zack Weiss to Triple-A Louisville. Gallardo was released by the Brewers on Wednesday. He had a $2 million, one-year deal with Brewers that was not guaranteed — released during the final week of spring training, he got $483,871 in termination pay. Catcher Stuart Turner was designated for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Gallardo.
Reds: Closer Raisel Iglesias is expected back from his three-day paternity leave on Sunday for the final game of the series.
Nationals: Left-hander Gio Gonzalez (15-9) is 4-2 career against the Reds in 10 starts with a 2.56 ERA. He allowed only four hits in 8 1/3 shutout inning during his only start against Cincinnati last year, a 5-0 victory on July 14.
Reds: Sal Romano went 7-9 in 16 starts last season in his first stint in the majors. He’s never faced the Nationals.