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Rookie Victor Robles to lead off in Nationals’ second straight lineup shakeup

Victor Robles went 1 for 4 with a stolen base and a run scored Wednesday night. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

One day after the Washington Nationals shook up the lineup and scored nine runs, their highest total in a week, Manager Dave Martinez has done it again. In part because the Nationals are playing an afternoon game after a night game, Martinez decided to give several players the day off against the San Francisco Giants, including right fielder and leadoff hitter Adam Eaton, who is taking his first rest of the season.

To replace Eaton, Martinez elevated rookie outfielder Victor Robles to the leadoff spot. Robles has been used in the nine hole as “a second leadoff hitter” when the Nationals get through the order. On Wednesday night, with a seven-run lead in the ninth inning, Robles jumped at the wall in center to try to rob a home run and ended up falling on his back. Afterward, Robles assured reporters “God’s hands” broke his fall and he felt fine. When Martinez talked to his young player Thursday morning, the 21-year-old told his manager the same thing.

“He’s ready to play,” Martinez said of Robles. “He’s right now what Adam Eaton was when he was a lot younger. He’s moving really well. He’s doing the things he’s capable of doing for us. He’s getting on base for us, getting hits for us. He’s playing good defense. I know he’s feeling good when he’s trying to steal bases. We want to keep Eaton that way.”

Martinez, wary of anything that would impede Robles’s development, assured the outfielder leading off shouldn’t change anything about his approach at the plate: “We had a conversation with him: ‘Hey, continue to do what you’ve been doing. Get on base, have good at-bats. Don’t try to do too much.’ ”

Martinez shifted Robles to right field, gave defensive-minded Michael A. Taylor his second start in center this season and penciled in Yan Gomes behind the plate to catch starter Patrick Corbin and rest Gomes’s platoon mate, Kurt Suzuki. Regular first baseman Ryan Zimmerman returned to the lineup after a day off in which his backup, Matt Adams, struck out three times and crushed a three-run home run deep to right in the seventh inning.

Lastly, Martinez maintained one shift he made Wednesday: Sluggers Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto remained up at No. 2 and 3 in the order, respectively, up from their regular slots at No. 3 and 4. The switch paid off Wednesday, as the anchors of the order finished 3 for 8 with a combined home run, two RBI and two runs scored.


San Francisco Giants (8-11)

Steven Duggar, RF

Tyler Austin, 1B

Kevin Pillar, CF

Brandon Belt, LF

Evan Longoria, 3B

Brandon Crawford, SS

Yangervis Solarte, 2B

Erik Kratz, C

Drew Pomeranz, LHP

Washington Nationals (8-8)

Victor Robles, RF

Anthony Rendon, 3B

Juan Soto, LF

Ryan Zimmerman, 1B

Yan Gomes, C

Brian Dozier, 2B

Wilmer Difo, SS

Patrick Corbin, LHP

Michael A. Taylor, CF

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