Cubs’ youth leads the charge in win
Kyle Hendricks pitched seven innings of one-run ball, Kris Bryant launched a game-tying mammoth home run and 21-year-old infielder Addison Russell hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
Facing Washington reliever Matt Grace, Russell slapped the 1-0 pitch into the right-center field gap, just out of the reach of center fielder Denard Span, sending the Wrigley faithful into a raucous celebration. With the win, Chicago (25-20) improved its mark at home this season to 14-9 at the Friendly Confines.
One batter earlier, pinch-hitter Jonathan Herrera grounded a ball to second. Danny Espinosa fielded, throwing to second for the second out of the inning. Attempting to turn an inning-ending double play, shortstop Ian Desmond fired an errant throw toward first – as the ball sailed into the Washington dugout, allowing Herrera to take second, setting up the game-winning hit.
Hendricks, who did not factor into the decision, has allowed just one earned run in his last 16 innings of work, turning a corner and looking much more like the breakout rookie we saw last season. On Tuesday night, he struck out four and walked two, lowering his earned run average to a respectable 3.76 on the year.
Dexter Fowler opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, taking Washington starter Jordan Zimmerman deep for his sixth home run of the year – a solo blast that gave Chicago an early 1-0 lead. The score remained there until Bryce Harper pulled Washington even in the top of the seventh on an unusual play.
Harper, who went 1-for-4 in the game, hit what at-first appeared to be a lazy fly ball down the left-field line, but a strong wind carries it into the seats for his 17th homer of the year, tying things 1-1.
In the bottom of the eighth, after Denard Span put the Nats on top 2-1 with a solo shot, Bryant responded with a mammoth home run off the left-field video board, tying things 2-2. The home run was the Cubs’ third baseman’s seventh long-ball in his last 17 games. He now has a team-leading 31 runs batted in.
Hector Rondon didn’t have his best stuff, but worked a scoreless ninth to pick up his third win of the season for the Cubs.
No Cubs batter managed more than one hit in the win, but the team struck out just five times, while drawing three walks on the night.