Chicago Cubs: Team holds off Nationals for much-needed win at home
By Jake Misener
The Chicago Cubs snapped a three-game losing streak, thanks to another big game from Willson Contreras and Alex Avila first’s Cubs home run.
After falling behind 1-0 after half an inning, the Chicago Cubs put up four runs in the bottom of the first and never looked back. And, once again, Willson Contreras led the charge offensively.
Bryce Harper connected off John Lackey to open the scoring, slugging his 28th homer of the year for the Nats. But his former Las Vegas teammate and friend Kris Bryant helped his club answer right back with a run-scoring double to tie things up 1-1.
Contreras drove in his first run of the game later in that frame with a slow chopper in between the pitcher’s mound and third base. Bryant raced home from third to score and put the Cubs up for good. But the team wasn’t quite finished. Alex Avila, the team’s recently-acquired backstop, lined a ball into the seats – a two-run blast – capping the four-run first.
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The score remained 4-1 until the top of the fourth when the Nationals plated two against Lackey. An Anthony Rendon sacrifice fly accounted for the first run and Matt Wieters drove in the second with a single, cutting the Cubs’ lead to 4-3.
On the afternoon, Lackey went just five innings, allowing a pair of earned runs. He struck out only three and walked one. It was a game of high pitch counts and lengthy at-bats, and the veteran right-hander was no exception.
Chicago added insurance late, scoring twice in the sixth and once in the seventh. With a man on first, Contreras ambushed the first pitch he saw from Matt Grace, driving it deep into the left-field seats. The two-run shot marked his 19th homer on the year. A Jon Jay RBI single in the seventh added the final insurance tally for the Cubs.
Wade Davis walked a tightrope in the ninth to nail down the save. With runners at first and second, he battled in a high-stakes showdown with Harper. The Cubs’ closer got him swinging on a breaking ball in the dirt to keep his perfect saves streak intact and preserve the win.
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Chicago and Washington conclude their weekend series with Sunday’s rubber match. Jon Lester takes the ball for the Cubs and Erick Fedde will start for Washington in just his second career MLB appearance.
First pitch is at 1:20 p.m. CT.