Nats outlast Cubs in extras, complete road sweep

washington nationalsThe Chicago Cubs rallied to tie the game three different times, but the Washington Nationals broke through with two runs in the 11th and held on for a 7-5 win on Sunday.

The win completed a series sweep for the Nats, and a 6-1 road trip through the NL East this week.

It was the second game this week that the Nationals bullpen couldn’t hold a lead for Stephen Strasburg, who struck out 10 in six innings and left with a 5-2 lead.

Victor Caratini hit a solo homer off Hunter Strickland in the seventh, and Kyle Schwarber hit a two-out, two-run shot off Fernando Rodney in the eighth to tie the game at 5-5.

Washington broke the tie in the 11th. Howie Kendrick led off with a pinch-hit single, and Trea Turner followed with a double to the gap to put runners at second and third with nobody out.

Victor Robles grounded out to short, but a Tyler Chatwood wild pitch on the first pitch of the at bat of Anthony Rendon scored Kendrick from third, and later in the at bat, Rendon delivered an RBI single to score Turner from third to make it 7-5.

Daniel Hudson (1-0, 2.69 ERA) closed out his win in relief with a 1-2-3 10th. Hudson had also pitched a perfect 10th to extend the game.

The Nats (73-57) remain six games back of Atlanta, which finished out a sweep of the New York Mets with a 2-1 win on Sunday, in the NL East, and are now four games clear of the Cubs for the top NL wild-card spot, with Philadelphia a game and a half back of Chicago, and the Mets and Milwaukee two games back in the race for that second spot.

Washington has an off-day on Monday before beginning a two-day interleague series with Baltimore on Tuesday. Patrick Corbin (10-5, 3.17 ERA) gets the ball for the Nationals, facing Orioles righty Aaron Brooks (3-7, 6.21 ERA).

Story by Chris Graham

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