The Chicago Cubs used timely hitting, key double plays and the cover of fog to down the Washington Nationals 5-3 at a very foggy Wrigley Field Thursday night. Cubs starter Travis Wood allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings, but did not figure in the decision as the Cubs scored in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead.
Neil Ramirez (1-1, 1.73) finished the seventh by getting the final out. It would be good enough to get him the win in relief, the first of his career.
The Cubs used a solid fourth inning to take an early lead. Anthony Rizzo continued to make a late push for All-Star consideration with three more hits, including a double in the fourth. Starlin Castro would drive in Justin Ruggiano and Rizzo with an RBI single. Later in the inning Welington Castillo singled to knock in Castro for the 3-0 lead.
Wood was on cruise control until the sixth, when he allowed an RBI single to Anthony Rendon. After a walk to Jayson Werth, the Cubs would use their second off three double plays to help extinguish the threat and Wood would strike out Ian Desmond to end the inning.
The Nats finally got to Wood in the next inning, after the southpaw started the inning with back-to-back walks, giving him five for the game – which continued a trend that has plagued the left all season long. Denard Span then lined a double off the right field wall to tie the game, but the Cubs did catch Span taking too big of a turn around second for the second out of the inning.
With two out in the seventh, Justing Ruggiano hit a line drive double down the left field line, scoring Darwin Barney and Ryan Sweeney. Ruggiano was thrown out attempting to advance to third, but the damage was done as the Cubs were up 5-3. Craig Stammen (0-3, 2.83) took the loss for the Nats.
Hector Rondon, coming off the rough ninth in his last appearance against the Reds, was sharp and sent the Nationals down in order to get the save.
The Cubs got a scare in the second inning when Junior Lake slammed into the wall trying to chase down a line-drive. Lake attempted to slide before making contact, but his momentum carried him hard into the utility door in right field. He was down for several minutes after appearing to hit his head. Lake would leave the game, walking off under his own power.
The Cubs will sen Jason Hammel (6-5, 2.99) to the bump tomorrow to take on Tanner Roark (7-4, 2.79) for the Nationals. The game is slated for a 3:05 pm CT first pitch on WGN TV, and on radio on WGN 720 AM.