Game Fifty-Three – Cubs 5, Nationals 7
WP – Tanner Roark (2-2) LP – Tsuyoshi Wada (0-1) Save – Drew Storen (18)
Anthony Rizzo homered twice. Miguel Montero hit a solo shot in the sixth and the Cubs brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth. But Drew Storen caught Matt Szczur looking to end the game as the Nationals topped the Cubs on Friday night.
The Cubs tried to mount a comeback from a 5-1 deficit in the sixth inning. The Cubs cut the Nationals lead to one-run at 5-4 in the sixth on a pair of home runs. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI) went deep for the second time in the game, a two-run shot to center, and Miguel Montero (1-for-4 with a home run) drove one out to center.
Justin Grimm gave up a two-out run scoring double to Wilson Ramos in the seventh and Zac Rosscup served up a run scoring double to pinch-hitter Dan Uggla in the eighth. Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood did their jobs in relief of Tsuyoshi Wada but two of the relievers Joe Maddon depend on let the Nationals tack on and put the game away.
Tsuyoshi Wada was tattooed Friday night. And he actually pitched worse than his final line indicates. The Nationals squared up Wada throughout his 3 2/3 innings. The Nationals scored three runs in the second off Wada on a three-run homer by Danny Espinosa. And the Nationals would have tacked on in the third, but Washington’s third base coach cost his team at the chance for a big inning and at least one run. Wada gave up two more runs in the fourth before Maddon decided that was enough and went to his bullpen.
Tsuyoshi Wada allowed five runs on nine hits with two walks and a strikeout in 3 2/3 innings. Wada threw 62 pitches, 37 for strikes.
The Cubs did not record their first hit until the fourth inning. Anthony Rizzo broke up Tanner Roark’s perfect game with a solo home run to right. Rizzo’s first longball since the three-run shot in Arizona almost two weeks ago.
Dexter Fowler (1-for-4) was on board for Rizzo’s two-run shot in the sixth. And Starlin Castro (1-for-4 with a double) doubled with two outs in the ninth and scored on a Chris Coghlan (1-for-4 with a RBI) single.
The Cubs managed nine hits but not a single walk and struck out 11 times. Kris Bryant (1-for-4), Travis Wood (1-for-1) and Junior Lake (1-for-4) also had hits.
With Friday’s loss, the Cubs slipped to 28-25 on the season.
The Cubs went down in order in the first inning. Tanner Roark threw only 12 pitches, eight for strikes. Tsuyoshi Wada was sharp in the first inning. He walked Bryce Harper with two outs, but it was pretty obvious he did not want to throw Harper a strike.
The Cubs did nothing in the second, only 28 pitches for Roark after two, 18 for strikes. And the Nationals started taking batting practice off Wada in the second.
Wilson Ramos led off the second with a single to right (1-2 pitch). Ian Desmond pulled a 1-2 pitch to deep left. The ball one-hopped the wall. Ramos held at third on Desmond’s double. Danny Espinosa launched a 2-2 pitch to deep left. The ball cleared the bullpen beyond the left field wall and the Nationals took a 3-0 lead. Wada retired Taylor (flyout to left), Roark (flyout to right) and Span (flyout to left) to end the inning. Wada made 35 pitches, 23 for strikes, in two innings.
After two, the Nationals had a 3-0 lead and the Cubs were still looking for their first hit.
It was a 1-2-3 third inning for Roark … and nine up and nine down for Roark on 42 pitches. Roark struck out four of the first nine batters on Friday night.
The Nationals continued to pound the baseball in the third, but poor decisions kept them from adding to their lead.
Ryan Zimmerman led off with a single to center (0-2 pitch). Bryce Harper followed and just missed a homer to right. The ball hit off the wall. For some reason, Nationals’ third base coach Bob Henley stopped Zimmerman at third. Harper rounded second and stopped halfway in between when he realized what happened. Harper did not pick up his base coach, but there was no reason to. Zimmerman should have scored. Rizzo jogged toward Harper, who stopped on the base path, and tagged him out. Rendon grounded out to third and Ramos lined out to a diving Junior Lake in right to end the inning.
The Nationals led 3-0 after three innings and it was obvious Wada was not long for the game.
Fowler led off the fourth and popped out to Desmond for the first out.
Anthony Rizzo cranked Roark’s first pitch to deep right. And Rizzo broke up the perfect game with one swing of the bat. Rizzo’s first home run in 13 days made it a 3-1 game.
Kris Bryant followed and just missed a homer to left. The ball hit off the wall. Taylor played the ball perfectly and threw to second base. Espinosa made a diving tag on the headfirst sliding Bryant for the out. The play was reviewed but the call stood. Montero grounded out to Desmond in the shift to end the inning.
Ian Desmond led off the fourth with a single to center. Danny Espinosa pulled a 2-1 pitch from Wada to left. Desmond would have scored but the ball stuck under the padding and Espinosa settled for a ground rule double. With runners on second and third and no outs, Michael Taylor lifted a 1-0 pitch to right. Lake caught the ball, Desmond tagged and scored … 4-1 Nationals. Espinosa advanced to third. Tanner Roark chopped a 2-0 pitch down the third baseline. Bryant knocked the ball down. Roark ended up with an infield single.
With runners on the corners and one down, Denard Span spanked a 2-0 pitch into center. Espinosa scored, 5-1 Nationals. Zimmerman pulled a 1-0 pitch to the hole at short. Castro made a diving stop and threw out Span at second. Maddon had Wada walk Harper to load the bases.
Joe Maddon went to his pen for Edwin Jackson. With the bases loaded and two outs, Anthony Rendon popped out to Bryant to finally end the inning.
The Nationals led 5-1 after four innings.
The Cubs managed a Junior Lake single in the fifth but he was stranded at second and Travis Wood tossed a 1-2-3 fifth inning.
After five complete, 5-1 Nationals.
Dexter Fowler singled to right with one out in the sixth after Rendon took away a hit from Russell with a diving stop. Anthony Rizzo worked a full count before unloading on the sixth pitch of the at bat.
Rizzo went deep for the second time in the game, a two-run shot to center. And the Cubs got back in the game, 5-3 Nationals. Bryant struck out swinging.
Miguel Montero crushed a 2-1 pitch, the ball sailed over the wall in center … and just like that it was a 5-4 game. Matt Williams decided that was enough for Roark and went to his bullpen for Aaron Barrett. Lake grounded out to third to end the inning.
Travis Wood tossed a perfect sixth inning.
The Nationals led 5-4 after six innings.
The Cubs managed a Travis Wood two-out single in the seventh. But that was all against Casey Janssen and the game went to the bottom of the seventh.
Justin Grimm retired Zimmerman on a grounder to third and struck out Bryce Harper swinging. Anthony Rendon singled to center on a 1-2 pitch. And he scored on a double to right center by Wilson Ramos. A wild pitch let Ramos advance to third before Desmond grounded out to short to end the inning.
After seven innings, the Nationals had a 6-4 lead.
The Cubs were not able to cut into the Nationals lead in the eighth. Denard Span robbed Rizzo of at least a double with a leaping catch at the wall in center. And Blake Treinen struck out Bryant swinging to end the inning.
Zac Rosscup started the eighth and struggled with his command once again. Rosscup issued a one-out walk to Michael Taylor. Dan Uggla hit for Treinen and pulled a 1-1 pitch into the left field corner. Taylor scored and made it a 7-4 game. Span grounded out to first. Uggla advanced to third but was stranded when Zimmerman struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Nationals led 7-4 after eight innings.
Starlin Castro doubled to right center with two outs in the ninth and scored on a single to left by Chris Coghlan. But Drew Storen caught Matt Szczur looking at a 1-2 pitch to end the game.
Jason Hammel is scheduled to face rookie Joe Ross in his big league debut on Saturday morning (11:05am CDT).