On Saturday afternoon, the Chicago Cubs found themselves battling back from behind late in the game yet again. Their five-game winning streak was on the line until shortstop Addison Russell came through with a clutch at-bat to lift his club to victory.
Right-hander Jason Hammel entered the day with an earned run average just above 1.00 and watched it swell up a bit as the Washington Nationals (19-11) grabbed the lead a few times before he was pulled from the game. Hammel (4-0, 1.85 ERA) kept the Nationals in the yard but was tagged for three earned runs on four hits in five innings of work.
Washington had him hitting close to 100 pitches in the fifth inning and regained the lead on a pair of RBI singles. Both Las Vegas-born players, Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper each drove in a run to help out their starters.
Harper put his club on the board first with a sacrifice fly out to right fielder, Jason Heyward while third baseman and last year’s National League Rookie of the Year winner, Bryant, hammered his fifth big fly of the season in the fourth.
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Fowler came through with an RBI triple on a fly ball hit to center field. Dexter finished the afternoon 2-for-4 at the dish with one RBI, a walk, and a run scored which came later on in the game.
With the Nationals on top for the third time, Chicago put together another strong rally to regain the lead in the sixth. First baseman Anthony Rizzo got himself on base with a one-out single and was moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Ben Zobrist.
Left fielder Jorge Soler kept the train moving, pushing Rizzo over to third on a single of his own to right field. Rizzo was almost sent home but Harper got the ball back to the infield, resulting in Rizzo pumping the brakes with Russell up next. He would score on an RBI single just three pitches later.
Both Soler and Russell crossed home plate on a two-run single by pinch-hitter Ryan Kalish. Kalish was called up earlier this week when Matt Szczur was placed on the 15-day disabled list, so it’s great to see him joining the fun. His single in the sixth gave the Cubs another one-run lead.
Chicago jumped out in front for good when Russell recorded his third double of the season, scoring Bryant and Rizzo. Zobrist added some insurance with an RBI single of his own, giving him nine RBI in the series.