Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez had a perfect game going through five innings and despite Scott Feldman holding up his end of the pitchers’ duel with just one run allowed in the first, things were not looking bright for the Cubs to pull this one out. Washington scored their lone tally thanks to a pair of doubles in the first, but the Cubs starter was able to get out of a two out bases loaded jam to limit the damage. Feldman would scatter three more hits in his six innings of work while walking three and striking out six. Dioner Navarro, of all people, broke up the perfect no hit bid with an infield single to lead off the sixth inning. However Gonzalez of the Nationals was able to escape the eventual two out bases loaded pickle of his own to keep the shut out and home team lead in place.
The Nationals lefty was pinch hit for in the bottom of the seventh and the Cubs offense made the decision back fire in the eighth. Navarro was the instigator again, producing another lead off single to get the rally started. Travis Wood came in to pinch run for the burly catcher, despite being scheduled to start against the Rockies at Wrigley on Monday night. Despite being on the road, Dale Sveum went the small ball approach to shoot for the tie. He had Darwin Barney execute a sac bunt to advance Wood to second and a pop foul by David DeJesus that Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche caught with his back to the infield allowed the Cubs pitcher to advance to third with two outs. Starlin Castro then bucked the trend of the team’s failures with RISP and singled up the middle to drive in the tying run.
James Russell shut down the Nationals in the bottom of the eighth despite a lead off walk to Bryce Harper, keeping the score knotted at one into the ninth inning. That set the stage for some final inning drama on Mother’s Day and an interesting series of events followed. Alfonso Soriano singled to start the frame before pinch hitter Julio Borbon followed that up with a base hit of his own. With one out and Welington Castillo at the plate, Soriano and Borbon attempted a double steal. Castillo stood his ground in the batter’s box and the throw to third by National’s back stop Kurt Suzuki tipped off of the hitter’s bat, causing a wild throw. Soriano easily scored for the go ahead run and Borbon ended up at third.
Unfortunately the Cubs offense could not plate the insurance run in the form of Borbon, but the one run lead was all lights out Kevin Gregg needed to nail down the save. His 1-2-3 inning for his sixth save ended with a pair of strikeouts, including one that had Suzuki ejected for arguing balls and strikes. The Nationals catcher may have felt that there was batter’s interference on his errant throw in the top of the inning, and the questionable strike out call may have pushed Suzuki over the edge.
And just like that, the Cubs practically stole not just the Mother’s Day win, but a series win on the road in DC against a 2012 playoff team.