Game Twenty-Nine – Cubs 8, Nationals 5
WP – Adam Warren (3-0, BS 1) LP – Sammy Solis (0-1, BS 1) Save – Hector Rondon (6)
Addison Russell drove in three runs with a pair of two-out hits, the second a two-run double in the seventh broke a 5-5 tie and was the game winner. Ryan Kalish delivered a pinch-hit, two-out, two-run single and Kris Bryant hit a mammoth home run through the wind. Five different Cubs drove in runs. And the backend of the pen shut down the Nationals as the Cubs posted their sixth straight win on Saturday afternoon in a crazy game at Wrigley Field.
On a pitcher’s day at the old ballyard, the Cubs and Nationals scored a combined 13 runs on 17 hits. There were five different lead changes. Joe Maddon emptied his bench and used seven pitchers to pick up the win.
Addison Russell (2-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored and three RBI) continues to deliver when it matters most. Russell had a pair of two out knocks that drove in runs Saturday. Russell made it a 4-3 game in the sixth with a single to center and kept the line moving. The Cubs took a 5-4 lead in the sixth after Ryan Kalish (1-for-1 with two RBI) came off the bench and delivered a two-out, two-run single to left. Russell stepped to the plate in the seventh with the bases loaded, two outs and the game tied at five. Russell drove a 2-2 pitch down the right field line that Bryce Harper had hit off the end of his glove for a double. Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a home run, a walk and two runs scored) and Anthony Rizzo (2-for-4 with a double, a HBP and two runs scored) scored and the Cubs took a 7-5 lead.
Kris Bryant unloaded on a 0-2 pitch from Gio Gonzalez leading off the fourth inning and gave the Cubs a brief 2-1 lead with a 423-foot blast through the wind.
Dexter Fowler (2-for-4 with a triple, a walk, a run scored and a RBI) and Ben Zobrist (1-for-3 with a sac bunt, a walk and a RBI) drove in runs on Saturday afternoon. Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a run scored) and Tim Federowicz (1-for-2 with a run scored) were in the middle of the scoring.
The Cubs scored eight runs on 11 hits, four for extra bases, and seven walks.
Jason Hammel really struggled with his command Saturday. And the Cubs defense did not help him whatsoever. A misplayed ball by Anthony Rizzo in the first inning cost Hammel an additional 10 pitches and he wasn’t able to find a rhythm the entire afternoon.
Hammel appeared to have zero feel for his slider. Hammel had to work to complete both the first and fifth innings. Hammel made 24 pitches in the first and 29 in the fifth. The Nationals took advantage of Hammel’s lack of command and put three runs on the board in five innings.
Jason Hammel made 97 pitches, 57 for strikes, in five innings and allowed three runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
Spencer Patton made his Cubs debut, faced two batters and gave up a run. Clayton Richard was effective in relief of Patton and Travis Wood gave up a triple to Ben Revere, the only batter he faced.
Adam Warren allowed an inherited runner to score but was rather effective once again out of the bullpen.
Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon were lights out in the eighth and ninth innings.
Here’s out Saturday’s game played out …
The Nationals put the first run on the board in the third inning. Ben Revere led off with a double to the right field corner. Danny Espinosa bunted to Rizzo. Revere went to third on the sacrifice. Jason Hammel pitched Harper and made a mistake on a 0-2 pitch. Bryce Harper pulled Hammel’s offering into right. Heyward caught the ball and Revere scored, 1-0 Nationals. Zimmerman flied out to Zobrist in shallow right to end the inning.
The Cubs answered in the bottom of the third and tied the game.
Tim Federowicz had an excellent nine-pitch at-bat that ended with the Cubs first hit of the game, a single to left on a 3-2 offering from Gio Gonzalez. Hammel bunted Federowicz to second base.
Dexter Fowler crushed a 3-2 pitch to right center. The wind grabbed the ball and not only kept it from ending up in the bleachers but blew it into the gap and away from Revere. Federowicz scored and Fowler ended up at third with a triple. Heyward rolled out to first base to end the inning.
After three complete, the game was tied at one.
Jason Hammel pitched a quick, 1-2-3 fourth inning, by far his best inning of the day.
Kris Bryant led off the fourth with a mammoth shot through the wind and out to left. Bryant’s blast gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead.
Gio Gonzalez retired Rizzo, Zobrist and Soler in order to complete the fourth inning.
Jason Hammel took the hill for the fifth inning with a lead. But he gave the run right back. Hammel issued a walk to Jose Lobaton to start the inning. Gonzalez bunted him to second base. Revere put the ball in play and rolled out to Zobrist at second. Lobaton advanced to third with two outs. Espinosa singled to right past Zobrist. Lobaton scored and tied the game at one. Hammel walked Harper.
Ryan Zimmerman singled to center (1-0 pitch). Espinosa scored easily and gave the Nationals a 3-2 lead. Harper stopped at third with two outs. After Rizzo dropped a foul ball that gave Werth another chance, Werth launched a 0-2 pitch to left that the wind kept in the park. Soler caught the ball to end the inning.
The Cubs put two on in the bottom of the fifth on a walk by Russell, a sac bunt from Hammel and an infield single by Fowler. But Heyward grounded out to second base to end the inning. The game went to the sixth with the Cubs trailing 3-2.
Spencer Patton made his Cubs’ debut in the sixth. It did not go well for the right-hander. Patton walked Rendon to start the sixth. Rendon swiped second and scored on a double from Stephen Drew, 4-2 Nationals. Maddon decided that was enough for Patton and went to his pen for Clayton Richard.
Jose Lobaton grounded out to Rizzo. Drew went to third and Maddon brought his infield in.
Gio Gonzalez bunted a 2-0 pitch in front of the plate. Drew started down the line. Federowicz picked up the ball and ran him back toward third. Drew was tagged out and the Cubs completed the 2-5-2-5-4 double play when Bryant fired a strike to Zobrist and he tagged out Gonzalez to end the inning.
Anthony Rizzo singled to right with one out in the sixth. Zobrist tried to bunt for a hit. Gonzalez fielded the ball and threw out Zobrist at first as Rizzo advanced to second. With two outs, Jorge Soler singled to right. But he hit the ball too hard. Harper charged the ball and made a strong throw toward the plate. Gary Jones held Rizzo. Zimmerman cut the ball and the Cubs had runners on the corners with two outs.
Addison Russell ripped a 1-1 pitch back up the middle and into center. Rizzo scored, 4-3 Nationals. Soler held at second and Dusty Baker went to his pen. Baker replaced Gonzalez with Blake Treinen. Maddon countered and sent up Tommy La Stella to hit for Tim Federowicz.
La Stella walked to load the bases and Maddon went back to his bench for Ryan Kalish. As soon as Kalish was announced for Richard, Baker went to his pen for lefty Sammy Solis.
Ryan Kalish came through with a bloop single to left just out of the reach of a diving Espinosa. Soler and Russell scored and the Cubs took a 5-4 lead. Fowler popped out to center for the third out.
The game went to the seventh with the Cubs leading 5-4.
Kris Bryant moved to left, David Ross entered the game and La Stella stayed in at third. Travis Wood started the seventh and gave up a triple to the right field corner to Ben Revere. Maddon went to his pen for Adam Warren.
Warren struck out Espinosa and intentionally walked Harper. Warren appeared to get out of the inning when Zimmerman pulled a 1-2 pitch to third base. The ball was not hit hard enough to turn two. Harper was forced at second but Zimmerman reached first, replays confirmed, and Revere scored to tie the game at five. Werth flied out to center to end the inning.
Baker left Solis in for the seventh with the game tied at five and the decision cost the Nationals. After Heyward struck out, Bryant walked and Rizzo choked up on a 2-2 pitch and drove the ball down the left field line. The ball hit on the track and jumped into the stands for a ground rule double or Bryant would have scored. Baker had Solis walk Ben Zobrist to load the bases with one out.
Shawn Kelley replaced Solis and retired Ross on a blooper to second base.
Addison Russell put a 2-2 pitch in play and drove the ball down the right field line. Harper appeared to have a play but the ball kept drifting and ended up near the side wall. The ball hit off the end of Harper’s glove, Bryant and Rizzo scored on a double by Addison Russell and the Cubs took a 7-5 lead.
La Stella was walked intentionally to load the bases. Maddon went to the bench for his last position player. Javier Baez batted for Warren and grounded out to third base to end the inning.
After seven complete, the Cubs had a 7-5 lead.
Pedro Strop struck out the side in order in the eighth.
Felipe Rivero started the bottom of the eighth and could not find the strike zone. Rivero walked Fowler and Heyward. Bryant struck out swinging. Rivero hit Rizzo with a 2-1 pitch to load the bases with one out.
Ben Zobrist singled to right on a 0-1 pitch. Fowler scored, 8-5 Cubs. With the bases loaded, Ross and Russell struck out swinging to end the inning.
Hector Rondon took the hill in the ninth with the Cubs leading 8-5. Rondon made quick work of the Nationals … 1-2-3 on eight pitches to end the game.
With Saturday’s win, the Cubs improved to 23-6 on the season.
The Cubs and Nationals square off on Sunday afternoon in the finale of the four-game series. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to face Tanner Roark.