Game Thirty – Cubs 4, Nationals 3 – 13 innings
WP – Travis Wood (1-0) LP – Blake Treinen (2-1) Save – None
Javier Baez stepped to the plate with one out in the 13th inning and untied the game with one big swing of the bat. Baez launched a 2-2 pitch from Blake Treinen into the bleachers in left center for the first walk-off homer of his career.
It took 13 innings, four hours and 54 minutes for the Cubs to complete the four-game sweep of the Nationals.
The Cubs bullpen stepped up in relief of Jake Arrieta and pitched eight innings of shutout ball. Joe Maddon used his entire bench and 18 total players to complete the sweep in what was truly a team win.
Joe Maddon did not let Bryce Harper beat the Cubs on Sunday. Harper did not have an official at bat for the second game in a row. The Cubs walked Harper six times, three intentionally and he reached a seventh time in the sixth inning when he was hit by a pitch. Maddon intentionally walked Harper in the 10th and 12th innings and loaded the bases both times with two outs. Ryan Zimmerman flied out to left to end the 10th and grounded out to third in the 12th and recorded the third out in two frames.
Cubs’ pitchers completed one 1-2-3 inning on the afternoon (11th inning). The Nationals had runners on base all day and finished the game 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left a total of 21 runners on base. Dusty Baker’s team could not unclog the bases.
The Cubs had plenty of scoring chances and were 2-for-16 with RISP while leaving 13 men on base. The Nationals made two sensational defensive plays in extra innings that kept the Cubs from walking off with a win before Baez’s blast.
Ben Revere made an exceptional running catch in the 10th on a ball that David Ross smoked into the gap. Ben Zobrist (1-for-4 with two walks and a run scored) likely would have scored from first base if Revere did not catch up to the ball.
Kris Bryant (3-for-6 with a double and two RBI) appeared to put the Cubs in position to win the game in the 11th inning with a double to right center. Jason Heyward (2-for-5 with a sac bunt) was waived around third. Michael Taylor caught up to the ball in the gap, threw a strike to Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos applied the tag on Heyward before he could touch the plate.
The Cubs scored four runs on 14 hits, three for extra bases, with three walks.
Ben Zobrist scored the Cubs first run in the fourth inning. Zobrist rolled a 1-2 pitch to Murphy at second. Zobrist hustled down the line as he always does. Murphy bobbled the ball and Zobrist reached on the error. Jorge Soler smoked a 3-0 pitch toward third that Rendon stopped but he did not field the ball cleanly. Zobrist advanced to second as Rendon threw out Soler at first. Russell grounded out to second. Zobrist moved to third. With Tim Federowicz at the plate, Tanner Roark uncorked a wild pitch. Zobrist ran in and scored. The free run made it a 2-1 game in the fourth.
The Cubs tied the game at three in the seventh inning. Maddon sent up Trevor Cahill to hit for himself after two innings of relief work. Cahill faced lefty reliever Oliver Perez and lined a 0-2 pitch back up the middle. Perez stuck his glove up to protect his face. The ball hit off his glove and rolled toward second base. Espinosa tried to make a barehand pickup but could not get a handle on the ball. Perez hit Fowler on a 3-0 pitch and put two on with no outs for Heyward.
Jason Heyward placed a perfect bunt up the third baseline. Cahill and Fowler moved up 90 feet and Baker went to the bullpen for Yusmeiro Petit.
Kris Bryant singled to center on a 1-0 pitch. Cahill and Fowler scored to tie the game at three.
Anthony Rizzo (2-for-6) flied out to right. After Bryant stole second, Zobrist grounded out to Murphy to end the inning.
The game remained 3-3 until the 13th inning.
Jake Arrieta had a rough outing and ended up with his shortest start since last June 16. Arrieta completed only five innings. Arrieta really labored in every inning and could not find a rhythm of any kind with Tim Federowicz.
Arrieta allowed the Nationals to score single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings with a lot of hard contact. Plus, Arrieta uncorked three wild pitches that gave the Nationals extra bases and helped them extend innings. Before Sunday the last time Arrieta allowed runs in three straight innings was May 29, 2012.
To put it simply, Arrieta had a bad day by the standards he has set and the expectations of the media and fan base. It reality, Arrieta was off command wise and still put together an outing than 98 percent of the starters in the league would be satisfied with on the second Sunday in May.
Jake Arrieta was lifted for a pinch-hitter, Ryan Kalish, leading off the fifth. Arrieta was charged with three runs, two earned, on six hits with four walks, three wild pitches and seven strikeouts. Arrieta made 100 pitches, 64 for strikes.
Trevor Cahill not only put together his best outing of the season on the mound, and arguably of his Cubs’ career, he also started the two-run rally in the seventh inning with an infield single. Cahill bent a little Sunday but did not break over three innings in relief of Arrieta. Cahill allowed runners on in each of the three innings on a hit and a pair of walks. Cahill worked well with Federowicz then David Ross. Cahill made 55 pitches, 28 for strikes, in three innings.
Adam Warren followed Cahill to the mound. Warren, like Cahill, was effective and pitched his way in and out of trouble in two innings. Warren allowed the leadoff hitter to reach in both the ninth and 10th but kept the Nationals off the board. Warren gave up two hits and two walks in two innings without a strikeout. Warren made 30 pitches, 16 for strikes.
Justin Grimm completed two scoreless innings in relief of Warren. Grimm allowed a hit and walked two but he did not allow Zimmerman to beat him. With the bases loaded in the 12th, Zimmerman bounced a 1-2 pitch toward third. Baez made a clean pick and threw a strike across the diamond for the third out. Only a handful of third basemen in the game make the play Baez did to end the inning.
Travis Wood walked the tightrope in the 13th when he gave up a two-out single to Wilson Ramos and hit Danny Espinosa. With Joe Ross running at second for Ramos, Michael Taylor flied out to Fowler in center on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning.
With Sunday’s win, the Cubs improved to 24-6 on the season.
The Cubs open a three game series Monday night (7:05pm CDT) against the Padres at Wrigley Field. Jon Lester is scheduled to face Cesar Vargas.