The Washington Nationals racked together fourteen hits led behind Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper to defeat the Chicago Cubs 4-2.
The Nationals came back Tuesday night after surrendering five homeruns to the Cubs on Monday to have eight different players collect a hit. Washington was able to put a runner on first base every inning having the Chicago pitching staff constantly pitching from the stretch.
Chicago on the other hand was not able to repeat their offensive production from the previous night despite the two deep balls from third baseman Donnie Murphy and left fielder Brian Bogusevic, the Cubs could only muster five hits off of Nationals pitchers.
The large reason for the Cubs minimal base runners was the pitching of Nationals starter Dan Haren (8-11, 4.64 ERA) who threw six innings of one run baseball while giving up only five hits and striking out six.Haren, who was almost dealt to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol in the offseason, failed to throw a pitch over 89 mph all night, but was able to change speeds and locate pitches causing the Chicago hitters to be off balance all night. Haren was able to improve to 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA in eight starts since coming off the disabled list on July 8.
Chicago’s starter Chris Rusin (2-3, 3.08 ERA) picked up the loss this evening after surrendering ten hits and two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched. Despite the ten hits, Rusin was able to avoid trouble most of the evening by getting outs with runners on and minimizing the damage to only one run in the first and the other in the sixth. The Cubs bullpen would then combine for 3 1/3 innings allowing four hits and the final two runs of the contest.
Washington’s offense put the pressure on the Cubs right off the bat with a leadoff single in the first from Bryce Harper. Two batters later, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman would deliver a one out RBI double scoring Ian Desmond from first who reached on a fielders choice. The Cubs would tie the game on a solo home run by Brian Bogusevic in the fourth inning, but give the lead right back a couple innings later. The Nats would continue to hit Rusin around, but fail to score until the sixth inning when left fielder Tyler Moore hit an RBI single scoring Ryan Zimmerman putting the Nationals back in the lead 2-1.
The Nationals would then add insurance runs in the ninth inning, that would later be needed, on an RBI single from Ian Desmond scoring Bryce Harper who doubled earlier and a Denard Span single which scored Ryan Zimmerman. The Cubs were down 4-1 heading into the ninth when third baseman Donnie Murphy hit a solo home run to bring the game within two runs. Nationals closer Rafael Soriano would however close out the game and pick up his 32nd save in 38 chances. Murphy and Bogusevic’s solo homeruns were not enough at the end of the day to bring the Cubs back-to-back victories against the defending NL East Champions.
The Cubs other offensive production came on hits from Junior Lake, Darwin Barney, and Nate Schierholtz. Washington on the other hand had almost every player contribute with six players collecting multi-hit games and four different players getting their four RBIs. Nationals all-stars Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper led the team with two hits a piece and three runs combined, with Harper scoring the game winning run in the top of the ninth.
Chicago falls to 54-71 on the season, while Washington improves to 61-64 and ties the series 1-1.
Wednesday night the Nationals will send RHP Ross Ohlendorf (2-0, 1.85 ERA) to the mound, who has not pitched since July 31st, while the Cubs will pitch newly assigned starter Jake Arrieta (2-2, 4.91 ERA).
Ohlendorf’s last start came against the New York Mets on July 27th when he threw seven innings and allowed only one earned run. Arrieta is also coming off a dominant performance where he shutout the St. Louis Cardinals in seven innings allowing only two hits and striking out seven on August 16.
Game three of this four game series will be played Wednesday night at 7:05 P.M. CT in Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL.