Chicago Cubs: Willson Contreras homers twice, but bullpen falters in loss
By Jake Misener
Willson Contreras continued his dominant second half, clubbing two more home runs Sunday. But it was not enough as the Washington Nationals topped the Chicago Cubs thanks to a late rally.
Entering the seventh inning Sunday, the Chicago Cubs held what seemed like a comfortable three-run advantage. However, before the dust settled in the eighth, the Washington Nationals flipped it on its head and lead by a 9-4 final.
The deciding blow came via a Matt Wieters grand slam in the eighth against Carl Edwards Jr. Edwards inherited a man on first when he entered in the frame with just one away. Mike Montgomery struck out Howie Kendrick, but then allowed an infield single to Bryce Harper, ending his afternoon.
Ryan Zimmerman led things off against the Cubs’ right-hander with a hard double to center, putting men on second and third with still only one away. After an intentional walk to Cub killer Daniel Murphy, Edwards hit Anthony Rendon with a pitch to tie the game 4-4.
Wieters then stepped in and crushed the Cubs’ hopes with a grand slam to dead-center.
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Prior to that blast, Chicago never trailed in the ballgame. Javier Baez opened the scoring with an RBI single in the bottom of the second. After the Nationals tied things up in the third, Willson Contreras blasted his 20th home run of the year.
Two innings later, the Cubs’ backstop did it again – smacking another solo shot – giving Chicago a 3-1 advantage. Kyle Schwarber followed with an opposite field blast of his own, his18th of the year.
On the mound, Jon Lester did what he needed to do. The left-hander pitched into the seventh, striking out seven and walking just one. He allowed three runs on six hits – but, ultimately, did not factor into the decision.
Washington scored two in the seventh, five in the eighth and one in the ninth via a Brian Goodwin solo shot – a rocket into the seats in right field.
Next: Late inning woes costly for Cubs lately
Chicago heads west to open a three-game set against the San Francisco Giants Monday night.
Jake Arrieta (10-8, 3.88) takes the ball in the opener against left-hander Matt Moore(3-11, 5.80).