Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) throws to first base during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON | Juan Soto homered to back Paolo Espino, and the Washington Nationals beat Colorado 3-0 Sunday to end the Rockies’ rare five-game road winning streak.

Soto hit a 454-foot drive in the third inning off Jon Gray (8-11) for his 26th home run this season. Soto is hitting .362 with a 1.178 OPS since the All-Star break.

“It’s truly remarkable to possess the power, the average, the solid defense, the energy, the personality,” Colorado manager Bud Black said of Soto. “What a package, what a player. He makes baseball better.”

Colorado had matched its longest winning streak this season. The Rockies went 7-2 on their first winning trip this year and are 25-52 on the road and 45-27 at Coors Field.

“I think overall it was a collection of all three facets of the game,” Black said of the successful trip.

Espino (5-5) allowed three hits in 5 2/3 innings, walked three and tied his season high with seven strikeouts.

“I love him,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “(Sunday) I was talking to (bench coach Tim Bogar) and talking about how good (Espino) has been and what he means to our club. He’s been awesome for us this year.”

Ryan McMahon hit an inning-ending flyout against Austin Voth that stranded the bases loaded in the sixth.

Kyle Finnegan, Washington’s fifth reliever, got three outs to complete a five-hitter and earned his 10th save in 14 chances. Finnegan blew his two previous save chances.

Gray gave up two runs, three hits and two walks in four innings.

Yadiel Hernandez hit an RBI single in the first, and Luis García singled in a run in the sixth against Lucas Gilbreath.


Nationals reliever Tanner Rainey, brought back from the minors, struck out the side in the seventh. It was his first major league appearance since Aug. 12.


Nationals catcher Alex Avila said he will retire after the season. The 34-year-old, an All-Star in 2011, is a son of Detroit general manager Al Avila. A veteran of 13 seasons who is hitting .179 with seven RBIs, Alex Avila said he expects to continue in baseball next season in a non-playing role. He said he has not spoken about a job with his father, who once traded him.


Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (neck) is continuing his rehabilitation process after season-ending thoracic outlet surgery on July 27. Strasburg is not expected to throw until November. He has pitched 26 2/3 innings across the last two seasons after signing a $245 million, seven-year contract following Washington’s 2019 World Series title.


Washington: RHP Erick Fedde (7-9, 5.16 ERA) opens a three-game series at Miami on Monday.

Colorado: RHP Antonio Senzatela is to start Tuesday to open a three-game home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.