Game Forty-Four – Cubs 1, Nationals 2
WP – Tanner Roark (1-2) LP – Justin Grimm (1-1) Save – Drew Storen (15)
Kris Bryant homered in the first inning but that was the extent of the Cubs’ scoring on Memorial Day. The Nationals hit one more solo homer than the Cubs did with the wind blowing straight out at Wrigley. And the Cubs dropped the first game with the Nationals.
Denard Span led off the game with a solo home run. Kris Bryant homered in the bottom of the first and the difference in the game, a homer to right center off the bat of Wilson Ramos in the sixth inning.
The Cubs are now 12-10 in 22 one-run games.
The Cubs offense did not get the job done Monday after struggling for a majority of the road trip. The quality of the at bats just is not there right now.
The Cubs managed five hits, one walk and a HBP while not working at bats the way they had until recently. The Cubs last seven runs have scored on four home runs.
Kris Bryant (2-for-3 with a home run and a HBP) lined his sixth homer of the season into the basket in left and tied the game at one. Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a double) doubled in the sixth but was stranded when Starlin Castro (0-for-4) lined out to Denard Span in center, who made a difficult catch look routine.
Jorge Soler (1-for-4) and Chris Coghlan (1-for-2 with a walk) also reached base, but that was it. Seven total baserunners at home on a day the wind was blowing out is difficult, not working at bats was the problem on Monday afternoon.
Tsuyoshi Wada put together a solid outing. Wada pitched into the sixth inning and made only one mistake in his second start of the season. Wada served up a solo homer to Denard Span on his fifth pitch of the game. Wada retired nine in a row after the Span homer in the first inning. And Wada caught Michael Taylor looking at a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded to end the fourth.
Joe Maddon left Wada in to start the sixth and he retired Bryce Harper on a pop out to Russell to end his afternoon.
Tsuyoshi Wada gave up one run on the solo homer by Span with two walks and six strikeouts. Wada allowed a total of four hits in 5 1/3 innings on 83 pitches, 51 for strikes.
Justin Grimm was hung with the loss after Wilson Ramos took him out to right in the sixth inning. Jason Motte pitched a scoreless seventh. Zac Rosscup walked a batter in the eighth but that was all in his inning of work. And Hector Rondon put together a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Cubs pitching staff did its job. The Nationals managed only five hits and eight total baserunners.
Both teams turned in sensational plays in the field. Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo and Jorge Soler made the Cubs’ highlight reel. And the Nationals made three plays that helped keep the Cubs off the board.
Michael Taylor made a diving catch in left center to end the second that took away extra bases from Tsuyoshi Wada and saved a run. Bryce Harper made a leaping catch just before hitting the wall and robbed Anthony Rizzo to end the third inning. Harper’s catch kept Bryant from scoring.
As Joe Maddon said post-game, the Cubs have to figure out a way to win games like Monday.
With Monday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 24-20 on the season.
Kyle Hendricks takes on Jordan Zimmermann on Tuesday night (6:05pm CDT) in game two of three with the Nationals.