Willson Contreras became the latest to lead off and start things with a home run as the Chicago Cubs beat the Washington Nationals 5-4 Monday night.
It was a new leadoff man for the Chicago Cubs with a similar result.
Ryan Zimmerman represented the Nationals go-ahead run in the 8th. However, Grimm induced the groundout to end the threat.
In the ninth, the Nats staged more comeback heroics, and Zimmerman again represented the go-ahead and winning runs. Though the fourth run scored on a wild pitch, Zimmerman struck out on a dropped third strike to mercifully end the game.
A better Butler
Already making his ninth start of the season, Eddie Butler scattered baserunners through the first four innings, but no harm no foul, as none came around to score.
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On the night, Butler pitched five solid innings, allowing four hits, striking out one and walking none. Most of the season, Butler has tiptoed around five innings, and though that was the case again tonight, he was economical with his pitches.
Throwing just 64 pitches, Addison Russell pinch-hit for Butler with two runners on and two outs. In his last outing against the Padres, Butler threw 92 pitches in just four innings.
No small feat
Considering Butler’s pitching line, and the opponent, it was arguably Butler’s best game of 2017.
He faced three of the top hitters in the NL, including Zimmerman’s renaissance of a season entering the night with a .350 BA. Daniel Murphy came in second (.342), and Bryce Harper rounded out the top 10 (.315).
As a team, the Nationals entered Monday leading the league in most offensive categories.
Chicago opened the night with a .703 defensive efficiency ratio, good for second in the NL. Great defense, naturally, was part of the evening’s feature. The collaboration of Almora Jr. making great catches early in centerfield, Baez at shortstop making a sprawling grab on Harper, then a big play late against the third base wall, and Contreras picking off a runner at first, helped keep Washington at bay.
Willson Contreras’ night
With Willson Contreras’ leadoff home run, who knew the type of historic night he would be embarking on.
Joe Maddon’s Chicago Cubs will continue game two of the series against the Washingon Nationals Tuesday evening. First pitch from Nationals Park is scheduled for 6:05 pm C.T.