The Washington Nationals (27-18) got their six game road trip started on the right note as they defeated the Chicago Cubs, 2-1, at Wrigley Field on Memorial Day. Washington went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, but it was the solo home runs from Denard Span and Wilson Ramos that provided Tanner Roark with enough offense to get his first win of 2015. Plus, the bullpen shut out the Cubs over the final four innings of the game.
Right out of the gate, the Nats got on the board first against Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada. Denard Span took a 2-2 fastball over the wall in right field for his fourth home run of the year to give Washington a 1-0 lead. Ian Desmond would follow that up with an infield single off the glove of Wada to extend his hitting streak to ten games.
As quick as the Nationals took the lead, Tanner Roark gave it right back. One of the Cubs great young players, Kris Bryant, took a Roark slider and hit it over the wall in left center for his sixth home run of the season, which tied the game at one
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Roark, who was making his first start of the season, did pitch well in this game. He went five innings, gave up one run on three hits, struck out three, and walked one. Out of the 66 pitches that he threw, 46 went for strikes. While Roark did pitch well, he got a lot of help from his defense.
In the bottom of the second inning, Michael Taylor took a hit and a possible RBI away from Wada when he dove for a ball in left field. Then, one inning later, Bryce Harper made a leaping grab against the ivy to take an extra base hit and a possible RBI away from Anthony Rizzo.
The Nationals would find a way to retake the lead in the top of the sixth. Wada would leave the game after Bryce Harper popped out to second to start the inning. Wada went 5.1 innings, gave up one run on four hits, struck out six, and walked two. Two batters later, with Justin Grimm in the game, Wilson Ramos crushed a solo shot to right field. His fourth home run of the season put the Nats up 2-1.
With Roark out of the game, it was up to the Nats bullpen to keep the Chicago offense off the board. Blake Treinen got the nod for the sixth and seventh innings. Treinen would give up two hits and strike out three batters over two innings of work (6th and 7th innings).
In the eighth, Matt Williams would use Matt Thornton and Aaron Barrett to retire the Cubs in order. Matt Thornton would get pinch hitter Miguel Montero to pop out to shallow right. Then, Barrett would come into the game. He struck out Addison Russell and got Dexter Fowler to fly out to center field.
After the Nationals went down in order in the ninth, it was up to Drew Storen to get the save against the heart of the Cubs order. Kris Bryant would lead off the ninth by being hit by a Storen changeup after the Cubs challenged the initial call of a strikeout. With Bryant on first, Storen was able to get himself out of trouble. He got Rizzo to pop up to shallow left, Starlin Castro to fly out to center, and Jorge Soler to strike out swinging on a 96 mile per hour fastball out of the zone to end the game. The Nats closer now has 15 saves in 16 chances and has recorded 11 straight saves.
Next Game: The Washington Nationals will continue their three game series against the Chicago Cubs (24-20) Tuesday night at 7:05 PM ET. You can catch the game on MASN2 and ESPN. Jordan Zimmermann (4-2, 3.52 ERA) gets the start for the Nats against Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 4.14) for the Cubs.