A Long Day Ends with a Loss – Cubs 4, Nationals 5

Game One Hundred Twenty-Seven – Cubs 4, Nationals 5 – 13 innings

WP – Craig Stammen (7-5) LP – Michael Bowden (1-3) Save – Drew Storen (3)

Rain delayed the start of Thursday’s finale with the Nationals for two hours, but after being shut down by Stephen Strasburg for seven innings the Cubs battled back and tied the game with two outs in the ninth inning. The Cubs trailed 4-1 going into the ninth and an error by Anthony Rendon opened the door for Donnie Murphy (1-for-5 with a home run and two RBI). Donnie Baseball, as he has been tabbed, launched his eighth home run off Strasburg and his improbable two-run shot, tied the game at four and sent it into extra innings.

Another former Cub, Chad Tracy, delivered the game winner in the top of the 13th when he tapped a 2-2 pitch up the first baseline that plated Denard Span. The Cubs put the tying run on base in the 13th before Dioner Navarro (2-for-6) grounded into a 1-4-6-3 double play to end the game.

It took four hours and four minutes for the Cubs to conclude the series with the Nationals. The Cubs dropped to a season-low 19 games under .500 with another disappointing loss. The Cubs completed the 10-game homestand with a 2-8 mark after dropping three of four to the Nationals. The Cubs wrapped up their season series against the Nationals with a 3-4 record.

To the Cubs credit they never quit on Thursday. Stephen Strasburg allowed just two singles and five total baserunners before Brian Bogusevic (3-for-4 with a home run, a double and a walk) led off the eighth with a booming home run into the bleachers in right center. At the time, just the Cubs’ third hit of the game.

Strasburg took the hill in the ninth in search of his second complete game. Dioner Navarro reached with a one out single and was replaced at first base by Nate Schierholtz when he grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice. Schierholtz took second and scored when Junior Lake (1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored) hit a grounder to the hole at short. Anthony Rendon appeared to slip as he threw the ball. Schierholtz scored on the throwing error and Lake reached to set it up for Donnie Murphy.

Stephen Strasburg struck out Murphy in each of his previous three at bats, but Murphy got the best of Strasburg when he hit his eighth home run in 16 games that tied the game at four.

Brian Bogusevic followed Murphy’s homer with a double off Rafael Soriano but the Cubs could not drive him in and managed only two baserunners in extra innings. The Cubs scored four runs on eight hits with three walks. Nationals pitching collected 12 strikeouts on Thursday while the Cubs’ offense went 1-for-3 with RISP and left five men on base.

Starlin Castro (0-for-5 with a walk, two caught stealing) and Anthony Rizzo (0-for-6) were a combined 0-for-11 with a walk and five strikeouts on Thursday.

Travis Wood settled down after a very rough start. Wood gave up three runs in his first two innings of work and it appeared he would not be long for the game. Wood found a rhythm, retired 14 of 15 batters, and 10 in a row, before Steve Lombardozzi led off the seventh with his first home run of the season that gave the Nationals a 4-0 lead.

Travis Wood departed with two outs in the seventh (6 2/3 innings) after allowing four runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts on 110 pitches, 74 for strikes.

For the third start in a row (20 innings), the Cubs did not score a single run while Wood was on the hill.

Blake Parker, Pedro Strop, Kevin Gregg and Carlos Villanueva did their job on Thursday and kept the Nationals off the board. But Michael Bowden gave up a leadoff double to Denard Span in the 13th and Span eventually scored the winning run when Chad Tracy hit a dribbler up the first baseline.

Two former Cubs drove in the winning run in two of the Nationals three victories at Wrigley Field.

With Thursday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 54-73 on the season.

Travis Wood retired Harper and Rendon to start his afternoon. Ryan Zimmerman drove Wood’s first pitch into the bleachers in right center … and the Cubs were down 1-0 just three batters into the game. Wood retired Ramos on a grounder to short to end the inning. Wood threw 14 pitches in the first, seven for strikes.

Dioner Navarro blooped a single into right center with two down in the first, but that was all. Strasburg threw 16 pitches, 13 for strikes, in the first inning.

Travis Wood labored through a 32-pitch second inning and put his team in a big hole with Strasburg on the hill. Tyler Moore led off the inning with a single to left center. Wood caught Hairston looking at a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Steve Lombardozzi ripped a double down the right field line. Moore held at third with one out. Dale Sveum brought his infield in with one down.

Stephen Strasburg singled to center over the drawn in infield. Moore scored, 2-0 Nationals, on Strasburg’s second RBI of the season. Wood walked Bryce Harper to load the bases.

Anthony Rendon drove a 3-2 pitch to deep center. Lake caught the ball, Lombardozzi tagged and scored, 3-0 Nationals. Wood retired Zimmerman on a grounder to short to end the inning … 46 pitches for Wood after two innings, 28 for strikes.

Travis Wood settled down after the second inning and pitched into the seventh. The game remained 3-0 Nationals until the seventh inning when Steve Lombardozzi led off the inning with a homer to left. Strasburg followed with a single to right. Wood refocused and struck out Harper swinging and Rendon lined out to third. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a single to right and chased Wood from the game.

With runners on first and second with two down, Dale Sveum went to his pen for Blake Parker. Parker retired Jayson Werth on a pop out to Barney on a 3-0 pitch to end the inning.

Strasburg retired the Cubs in order in the seventh and needed only 86 pitches, 57 for strikes, to complete seven frames on Thursday.

The Cubs managed only two singles and two walks over the first seven innings.

Brian Bogusevic led off the eighth with his second homer of the season, a solo shot to the bleachers in right … just the Cubs’ third hit of the game. Strasburg retired Barney before giving up a single to pinch-hitter Cole Gillespie. Starlin Castro grounded into a 5-4-3 inning ending double play.

Pedro Strop worked around a one out double by Bryce Harper and a walk to Anthony Rendon in the ninth without allowing the Nationals to add to their lead … and Strasburg took the hill in the ninth in search of a complete game.

Anthony Rizzo tapped back to the mound for the first out in the ninth. Dioner Navarro singled to left but was erased at second when Nate Schierholtz grounded into a 4-6 fielder’s choice. With Lake at the plate, Schierholtz took second on defensive indifference. Junior Lake pulled a 3-1 pitch toward short. Rendon slipped as he threw the ball. Lake reached first as Schierholtz scored the Cubs’ second run.

Donnie Murphy pulled a 1-1 pitch into the first row of the bleachers in left … and tied the game at four.

Davey Johnson finally went to his pen for Rafael Soriano. Brian Bogusevic greeted Soriano with a double to right but Barney lined out to left center to end the inning.

The game remained tied at four until the 13th inning.

Denard Span doubled off Michael Bowden to start the inning. Lombardozzi bunted Span to third. Chad Tracy hit for Craig Stammen and dribbled a 2-2 pitch up the first baseline. Bowden fielded the ball, but had no play at the plate. Span scored, 5-4 Nationals. Bowden hit Harper with a 3-0 pitch before retiring Rendon on a flyout to right center to end the inning.

After Rizzo reached on an error with one down in the 13th inning, Navarro hit into a 1-4-6-3 double play that ended the game. Navarro smashed a 1-0 pitch back up the middle that Drew Storen deflected to Lombardozzi.

The Cubs will spend the next six days on the West Coast with three in San Diego and three in Los Angeles. Edwin Jackson faces Edinson Volquez in the first of three with the Padres on Friday night.

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Quote of the Day

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