WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington’s Kyle Schwarber led off the first inning against Tampa Bay on Tuesday night with his 12th home run in 10 games, tying Albert Belle in 1995 for the most over that span since at least 1901.
Schwarber drove Rich Hill’s first pitch, an 83 mph fastball, 434 feet off the upper-deck facade in right for his major league-leading seventh leadoff home run — all in June. Schwarber’s 16 home runs this month are the second-most in any June behind Sammy Sosa’s 20 in 1998.
He has 16 home runs in 18 games since being moved into the leadoff spot in the Nationals’ batting order on June 8.
Schwarber has 25 home runs overall, tied with San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr., two shy of the major league-leading total of the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani and one back of Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Juan Soto followed two batters later with a two-run drive, and Victor Robles added a solo homer in the second for a 4-0 lead.
Schwarber grounded into a double play in the second inning.
The 28-year-old became a free agent Dec. 2 when the Chicago Cubs failed to offer a 2021 contract. He agreed in January to a $10 million, one-year contract with the Nationals calling for a $7 million salary, a deal that includes an $11.5 million mutual option for 2022 with a $3 million buyout.
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