Cubs Lose the Rumble at Nationals Park – Cubs 2, Nationals 9

Game One Hundred Thirty-Seven – Cubs 2, Nationals 9
WP – Jordan Zimmermann (10-8) LP – Justin Germano (2-6) Save – None

The Washington Nationals pounded Cubs’ pitching for the third game in a row and completed the four-game sweep over the Chicago Cubs. The Nationals scored nine runs on 12 hits and launched three more home runs. Washington hit 15 longballs during the four-game series, two short of the all-time record of 17 hit by the Minnesota Twins against the Washington Senators in 1963.

The Cubs actually led Thursday night’s game twice but Sveum’s staff could not keep the Nationals off the board, or the ball in the park. The Nationals built a commanding 7-2 lead by the fifth inning before the game took a backseat to two bench clearing altercations.

Three players and Jamie Quirk were ejected from Thursday night’s game. Quirk and Nationals’ third base coach Bo Porter started arguing in the fifth after the Nationals stole two bases and Jayson Werth swung away at a 3-0 offering from Lendy Castillo with the bases loaded and two down. Porter left the third base coach’s box and walked to the Cubs dugout as he exchanged words with Quirk. The umpires ejected Jamie Quirk and Castillo retired Werth to end the inning.

Lendy Castillo threw his first pitch of the sixth inning well inside to Bryce Harper. Harper took exception and made steps toward the mound. Steve Clevenger stepped in between Harper and his pitcher as both benches and bullpen cleared for the second time. Order appeared to be restored but Mike Gonzalez and Manny Corpas kept jawing at one another. Tempers escalated and a brawl broke out in between first base and the mound. Steve Clevenger, Manny Corpas and Mike Gonzalez were ejected.

The Cubs insisted after the game that Lendy Castillo’s pitch to Bryce Harper was not intentional and just got away. It was obvious that the Cubs’ threw at Harper because Steve Clevenger did not try to catch the ball.

As for the game, the Nationals beat the Cubs soundly once again. After Monday’s 2-1 loss, the Nationals beat the Cubs 11-5 on Tuesday, 9-1 on Wednesday and 9-2 on Thursday. The Nationals pounded out 44 hits over the last three games of the series and 14 of those left Nationals ParkAdam LaRoche launched five of the Nationals’ 15 home runs during the series.

Justin Germano was very hittable once again. The Nationals put runners in scoring position in each of Germano’s four innings and scored seven runs, six earned, on seven hits. Germano walked two, hit a batter and struck out a pair on 80 pitches, 47 for strikes.

Lendy Castillo not only threw at Bryce Harper but he allowed a run on two hits with two walks and a strikeout in 1 1/3 innings. Castillo struggled with his command again (37 pitches, 21 for strikes) and has shown little to no improvement this season.

Jeff Beliveau served up Adam LaRoche’s fifth homer of the series in the sixth. Miguel Socolovich provided the Cubs’ lone pitching highlight of the night. Socolovich kept the Nationals off the board and surrendered one hit with a strikeout in his inning of work. Michael Bowden escaped a bases loaded jam in the eighth without allowing any runs (23 pitches, 11 for strikes).

The Cubs’ offense came out swinging and the first three hits went for extra bases. Anthony Rizzo (3-for-4 with a home run) hit his 12th homer of the season in the first inning. Starlin Castro (2-for-4 with a double, a triple and a run scored) led off the second with his 11th triple of the season and scored on a two-out triple off the bat of Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a RBI). But the Cubs’ bats went quiet after the second inning. Sveum’s offense managed just four other hits on the night while striking out 11 times. Brett Jackson (1-for-3 with a double and a walk) worked the Cubs only free pass.

Starlin Castro collected two more hits and is two shy of becoming just the 28th player in the history of the game to collect 500 hits before his 23rd birthday.

Darwin Barney did not commit an error on Thursday night and ran his errorless streak to 122 games, one short of Ryne Sandberg’s franchise mark (123) for consecutive games played by a second baseman without an error.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 35 games under .500 with a 51-86 record on the season …

David DeJesus struck out looking on three pitches to start the game. Jordan Zimmermann threw three fastballs and DeJesus did not take the bat off his shoulder. Luis Valbuena lined out to right (3-2 pitch) for the second out. Anthony Rizzo stepped in and drove a 2-0 pitch to deep left center. The ball kept carrying and hit off the top of the wall. Rizzo’s 12th longball of the season put the Cubs up 1-0 with their first lead of the series. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning. Jordan Zimmermann threw 19 pitches in the first inning, 11 for strikes.

The Cubs lead did not last long. After Jayson Werth popped out to left (2-1 pitch) for the first out, Bryce Harper drove a 3-2 pitch into left center. Harper hustled out of the box and beat a bad relay by Starlin Castro to third. Harper ended up with a one-out triple. Ryan Zimmerman tapped a 2-2 pitch back to the mound. Germano fielded the ball and threw to first as Harper broke for the plate … Germano never looked him back toward third. Rizzo caught the ball and threw home but his throw to Clevenger was late and Harper tied the game at one. Adam LaRoche lined out to Barney (3-2 pitch) to end the inning … 21 pitches for Germano in the first, 12 for strikes.

Starlin Castro drove a 1-1 pitch into the right field corner. Castro raced around the bases and ended up at third with his 11th three-bagger of the season. Steve Clevenger lined a 1-2 pitch to LaRoche for the first out. Brett Jackson struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) for the second out. Darwin Barney blooped Zimmermann’s first pitch down the right field line. Castro scored and Barney ended up at third with his fourth triple of the season. Justin Germano struck out swinging to end the inning. Zimmermann needed 35 pitches, 23 for strikes, to get through two innings of work.

The Cubs first three hits … home run, triple, triple and after one and a half, the Cubs led 2-1.

The Cubs one-run lead did not last long again. Germano struck out Michael Morse swinging to start the second. Ian Desmond doubled down the left field line. Germano then hit Danny Espinosa with his first pitch. Kurt Suzuki put the Nationals up for good. Suzuki launched a 1-2 pitch to deep left … and just like that the Nationals took a 4-2 lead on Suzuki’s fourth home run of the season. Jordan Zimmermann flied out to left and Jayson Werth struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. Germano threw 41 pitches, 25 for strikes, in the first two innings.

The first six hits of the game all went for extra bases … and the Cubs were down 4-2 after two innings.

The Cubs did nothing in the third. Jordan Zimmermann struck out two more batters. Zimmermann struck out six of the first 11 batters and threw 45 pitches, 31 for strikes, in the first three innings.

The Nationals threatened in the third after Bryce Harper reached on Alfonso Soriano’s first charged error of the season. Harper hit a fly into shallow left that Soriano simply dropped. Ryan Zimmerman grounded out to third. Harper held at second with one out. Germano then walked Adam LaRoche. Morse hit a 0-2 pitch toward first. Rizzo stepped on the ball and appeared to tweak his ankle. Morse reached on what was ruled an error (changed to a hit before the bottom of the fourth) to load the bases with one out. Ian Desmond rapped into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning … 55 pitches for Germano after three, 33 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing in the fourth. Zimmermann threw 54 pitches, 38 for strikes, over the first four innings.

The Nationals kept tacking on in the fourth inning. David DeJesus made a nice running catch at the wall to take away a hit from Danny Espinosa to start the fourth. Kurt Suzuki ripped a single into center. Jordan Zimmermann dropped down a bunt and Suzuki advanced to second on the play … the fourth straight inning the Nationals put a runner into scoring position. Germano walked Jayson Werth and the Nationals had runners on first and second with two down.

Bryce Harper hit a grounder toward short (2-2 pitch). Castro was in the shift playing near the second base bag. Castro fielded the ball but his throw to first was low and skipped past Rizzo. Suzuki scored on Harper’s infield single … and both Werth and Harper advanced ninety feet on Starlin Castro’s throwing error. Ryan Zimmerman pulled a 3-2 pitch into left field. Werth and Harper scored and the Nationals took a 7-2 lead. Adam LaRoche flied out to deep right center to end the inning.

Justin Germano threw 80 pitches over four innings … and the Cubs were down 7-2 after four complete.

The Cubs did nothing in the fifth. Zimmermann needed only 63 pitches, 46 for strikes, to complete five innings of work on Thursday night.

Lendy Castillo made his first appearance since August 27 in the fifth. Castillo retired Michael Morse on a fly out to right. Ian Desmond walked and swiped second on the first pitch to Danny Espinosa. Espinosa singled to right and Desmond actually held at third base. Kurt Suzuki popped out to shallow center for the second out.

Jordan Zimmermann stepped in with runners on first and third with two outs. Danny Espinosa stole second as Castillo struggled throwing the ball over the plate. Castillo ended up walking Zimmermann to load the bases for Jayson Werth.

Lendy Castillo continued having trouble throwing strikes and fell behind Werth 3-0. Werth swung at Castillo’s next pitch and fouled it off. Clevenger had an issue with his glove and went to the dugout to get his back-up. As Clevenger was exchanging his glove, Jamie Quirk and Bo Porter (Nationals’ third base coach) began arguing with one another. The argument became rather heated and Porter left his position in third base coach’s box and walked toward the Cubs’ bench.

Dale Sveum and Mike Borzello stepped in between Quirk and Porter. The umps made their way over, both benches and bullpens cleared. After the dust settled, Jamie Quirk was ejected from the game … and not Bo Porter. Quirk appeared to be upset about the Nationals stealing two bases in the inning and Jayson Werth swinging at a 3-0 pitch with the Nationals up by five runs … the Unwritten Rules of Baseball.

Once order was restored, Werth flied out to right to end the inning.

After five, the Cubs were down by five at 7-2.

Other than a two-out single off the bat of Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs did nothing in the sixth. Jordan Zimmermann threw 73 pitches, 54 for strikes, over six innings.

The game took a backseat (again) after the first pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Lendy Castillo threw the first pitch well inside to Bryce Harper. Steve Clevenger did not make an effort to catch the ball. Harper took exception and started toward the mound. Clevenger stepped in between him and Castillo. Both benches and bullpens emptied but no punches were thrown and order appeared to be restored. As the players started making their way back to their positions, Mike Gonzalez and Manny Corpas continued jawing at one another. Anthony Rizzo tried to keep the peace and pointed Gonzalez toward the Nationals pen. Tempers escalated and a brawl broke out.

Steve Clevenger, Michael Morse, Mike Gonzalez, Ian Desmond and Manny Corpas appeared to be the main offenders as players and coaches tried to separate the players. Once the dust settled, Clevenger and Corpas were both thrown out of the game and Mike Gonzalez was also sent to the showers.

Lendy Castillo caught Bryce Harper looking at a 3-2 pitch for the first out. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a single to center and Sveum went to his pen for lefty Jeff Beliveau.

Adam LaRoche launched Beliveau’s first pitch to deep right. Two fans reached over the wall and appeared to interfere with the ball. LaRoche was waived around with his fifth homer of the series. Dale Sveum disputed the call, the umps huddled then went in to take a look. The play was reviewed and upheld … and the Nationals took a 9-2 lead on their 15 homer of the series.

Michael Morse grounded out to short for the second out in the sixth. Beliveau walked Ian Desmond but struck out Danny Espinosa swinging to end the inning.

After six complete, the Cubs were down 9-2.

Starlin Castro led off the seventh with a double to right center (3-2 pitch). Welington Castillo struck out swinging in his first at bat since taking over for the ejected Steve Clevenger. Brett Jackson walked but Darwin Barney flied out to right and Bryan LaHair, hitting for Jeff Beliveau, looked at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.

Miguel Socolovich took over in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Kurt Suzuki (centerfield). Steve Lombardozzi hit for Jordan Zimmermann and field out to center. Jayson Werth struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) for the second out and Brett Jackson made a diving catch in left center to take away a hit from Bryce Harper to end the inning

Tom Gorzelanny started the eighth and retired pinch-hitter Joe Mather with one pitch. Mather hit for DeJesus and popped out to short. Josh Vitters hit for Luis Valbuena and struck out swinging (1-2 pitch). Anthony Rizzo followed with a single to right and Davey Johnson went to his pen up 9-2. Christian Garcia replaced Gorzelanny and struck out Alfonso Soriano (with Rizzo at second after a wild pitch on a 2-1 offering) swinging to end the inning.

Michael Bowden took over in the eighth and walked Ryan Zimmerman and Chad Tracy on eight pitches. Michael Morse followed with a single to right (1-2 pitch) and Porter held Zimmerman at third with no outs. Bowden found the strike zone and retired Ian Desmond on a pop out to Darwin Barney (first pitch). Danny Espinosa struck out swinging and Kurt Suzuki popped out to Soriano in shallow left to end the inning.

Christian Garcia faced the minimum in the ninth to end the game. Castro grounded out to short for the first out. Welington Castillo flied out to shallow right but Brett Jackson launched a 1-1 pitch off the wall in right. Jackson stumbled on his way to third and Desmond tagged him out to end the game.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs open a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Friday night … Travis Wood against A.J. Burnett in game one.

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