Game Thirty-Six – Cubs 8, Nationals 2
WP – Edwin Jackson (1-5) LP – Stephen Strasburg (1-5) Save – None
What started out as a pitcher’s duel between Edwin Jackson and Stephen Strasburg turned on throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman in the fifth inning. The Cubs took advantage of the extra out and Stephen Strasburg’s lack off command following the error.
Edwin Jackson not only picked up his first win in a Cubs’ uniform but he also drove in the Cubs’ first two runs of the game. Jackson doubled to right center off Strasburg with two outs in the fifth two batters after Zimmerman’s miscue and Anthony Rizzo (3-for-5 with two RBI) capped the Cubs’ four-run fifth with a two-run single. The Cubs scored four runs in the fifth, all with two outs, worked a pair of walks and forced Stephen Strasburg to throw 42 pitches in the fifth inning. The Cubs added four more in the sixth off Zach Duke and won a game that on paper looked like a mismatch before it started.
The Cubs offense had a very good day after it appeared early on hits were going to be few and far between. Stephen Strasburg retired the first 11 batters he faced and struck out seven batters over the first four innings.
The Cubs pounded out 12 hits, six doubles, with Welington Castillo ending up as the only starter without a hit but he reached base twice and scored two runs. Six of the Cubs eight runs scored with two outs and the Cubs finished the day 6-for-12 with RISP and left six men on base.
Anthony Rizzo stayed hot at the plate while David DeJesus (1-for-4 with two RBI, a run scored and a walk) singled in two runs in the sixth inning. Alfonso Soriano (2-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored) doubled twice and scored the Cubs’ fifth run. Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored) worked a walk in the fifth after Zimmerman’s error that prolonged the inning for Edwin Jackson.
Edwin Jackson looked very good early on and matched Strasburg pitch-for-pitch. Jackson allowed only one hit through four innings. Jackson served up a solo homer to Ian Desmond to start the fifth but settled down and kept the score 4-1. After the Cubs put another four-spot on the board in the sixth, Jackson struggled with his command in the sixth, walked a couple of batters and was lifted after recording only one out. Jackson left with the bases loaded, one out and an 8-1 lead.
Edwin Jackson ended up being charged with two runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Jackson threw 88 pitches, 50 for strikes.
Shawn Camp allowed an inherited run to score but did not allow another run in his 1 2/3 innings. Hector Rondon pitched two perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts to close out the win.
Luis Valbuena (1-for-2 with a double) left the game in the fifth inning after jamming the pinky on his right hand sliding headfirst into third trying to stretch a double into a triple. X-rays after the game came back negative and he will be available to pinch-hit on Sunday.
The Cubs won their first game at Nationals Park since 2011 (2-8 in last 10 games), snapped the Nationals five game winning streak and improved to 14-22 on the season with Saturday’s victory.
Edwin Jackson and Stephen Strasburg locked in a pitcher’s duel over the first four innings. Jackson allowed just one hit while Strasburg struck out seven while needing only 53 pitches to complete four innings of work. Jackson retired the side in order in the fourth, and he needed only 55 pitches, 33 strikes, through four innings.
Nate Schierholtz flied out to Span in center (2-2 pitch) to start the Cubs’ fifth. Luis Valbuena stepped in and fell behind 1-2. Valbuena worked a full count then pulled the 3-2 offering from Strasburg into the right field corner. Valbuena rounded second and headed for third. Roger Bernadina made a perfect throw to Danny Espinosa who threw a strike to Zimmerman at third to cut down Valbuena. Valbuena slid in head first and appeared to hurt his hand on the slide. Welington Castillo hit a routine grounder to third on a 1-0 pitch. Ryan Zimmerman fielded the ball but threw wide to first. Castillo reached on Zimmerman’s sixth throwing error of the season … and the inning continued for Darwin Barney. Barney worked a walk as Strasburg visibly changed after Zimmerman’s error.
Edwin Jackson stepped in and quickly fell behind 0-2. Jackson did not offer at some tough pitches and ended up working a full count. Jackson drove Strasburg’s 3-2 pitch to deep right center. The ball hit off the base of the wall, Castillo and Barney scored on Jackson’s first hit of the season … and first double of his career. DeJesus walked and the Cubs had runners on first and second with two down.
Starlin Castro pulled a 1-1 pitch to the hole at short. Ian Desmond fielded the ball and threw to second. DeJesus got a good jump from first and slid in safe just ahead of the ball. The Cubs loaded the bases for Rizzo.
Anthony Rizzo bounced a 0-2 pitch back up the middle. The seeing-eye single plated Jackson and DeJesus … 4-0 Cubs. Soriano fell behind 0-1. Rizzo then broke for second on a delayed steal. Ramos threw a strike to Espinosa. Rizzo tried to put the brakes on but slipped and Espinosa tagged him out to end the inning.
Stephen Strasburg threw 42 pitches in the fifth inning and left the game trailing 4-0.
Ian Desmond led off the Nationals’ fifth with a long homer to left center. Danny Espinosa followed with a bloop single to left. Soriano tried to make a diving catch, but trapped the ball. Moore grounded out to Cody Ransom at third. Ransom replaced Valbuena in the fifth after he jammed the pinky on his right hand sliding into third base. Espinosa advanced to second. Wilson Ramos grounded a 0-2 pitch to short. Castro threw to first for the sure out as Espinosa advanced to third. Chad Tracy hit for Strasburg and lined out to DeJesus on the first pitch to end the inning. Jackson struggled in the fifth but allowed only one run. Jackson threw 66 pitches, 41 for strikes, over the first five innings of his outing.
Zach Duke took over for the Nationals in the sixth … and the Cubs put together their second four-run inning off the former Pirates’ starter.
Alfonso Soriano led off the sixth with a double to right center. Nate Schierholtz followed with a single to left. Soriano held at third with no outs. Duke uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-0 offering to Ransom. Soriano scored, 5-1 Cubs, as Schierholtz advanced to second. Ransom doubled to center and plated Schierholtz with the Cubs’ sixth run of the game. Duke then hit Castillo and put runners on first and second with no outs. Darwin Barney drove a 2-0 pitch to the track in center. Ransom tagged and advanced to third with one out.
Edwin Jackson bunted Castillo to second base and put runners on second and third with two down for DeJesus. David DeJesus singled to center and plated both Ransom and Castillo … 8-1 Cubs. Davey Johnson decided that was enough for Duke and went to his pen for right hander Ryan Mattheus. Castro struck out swinging to end the inning.
Edwin Jackson took the hill in the sixth with an 8-1 lead … and really struggled with his command.
Jackson was very good over the first five innings but could not record three outs in the sixth inning against his former team.
Denard Span tapped back to Jackson to start the sixth. Jackson then issued back-to-back walks to Roger Bernadina and Ryan Zimmerman. Adam LaRoche worked a full count before ripping a single into right. With the bases loaded and one down, Dale Sveum went to his pen for Shawn Camp.
Ian Desmond singled to left and plated Desmond with the Nats’ second run. Camp struck out Espinosa swinging on a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Tyler Moore then pulled the first pitch from Camp to Ransom at third. Ransom fielded the ball and touched third to end the inning.
Hector Rondon was impressive in the eighth and ninth innings. Rondon struck out two of the six batters he faced and pitched multiple innings on back-to-back days for the first time this season.
Scott Feldman faces Gio Gonzalez in the series finale with the Nationals on Sunday afternoon.