Solid outing from pen lifts Nats past Cubs
The Nats pen shut out the Chicago Cubs for four and two-thirds innings in a 7-2 win on Saturday in Wrigley Field.
Starter Joe Ross was staked to a 5-0 lead through two and a half, but had to pitch out of jams in the third and fourth, getting Kris Bryant on a foul pop down the first-base line with two on to end the third, and getting Ian Happ on a borderline called third strike with the bases loaded in the fourth.
A Jonathan Lucroy RBI double chased Ross with one out in the fifth and the Nationals up 5-2, but Wander Suero was able to get out of a second-and-third, one-out jam by striking out Javy Baez and getting Kyle Schwarber on a pop-up to third.
An Adam Eaton RBI groundout in the sixth made it 6-2 Washington, and the Nats tacked on an insurance run in the ninth on an RBI double off the bat of Howie Kendrick.
The win was the 14th in 18 games for Washington (72-57), which is a season-high 15 games over .500, and has an MLB-best 53-26 record since May 24.
Stephen Strasburg (15-5, 3.65 ERA) goes to the mound for the Nationals on Sunday to try to complete the three-game weekend sweep. Chicago will send Cole Hamels (7-4, 3.73 ERA) to the hill to try to salvage the finale.
Story by Chris Graham