Washington Nationals Bats Go Silent In Loss To Cubs
The Washington Nationals were defeated by the Chicago Cubs 5-2 due to four RBI’s by Ben Zobrist.
Tonight, the Washington Nationals started a pivotal series against the team with the best record in baseball, the Chicago Cubs. This was set up to be a great series and maybe a playoff preview in early May.
In a series that may feature a lot of offense, both starting pitchers got off to a great start tonight. Both Kyle Hendricks and and Joe Ross kept the game scoreless through the first three innings. Both teams had just one hit, and Ross struck out four of the first 10 batters he faced.
After striking out looking for the second time in two at-bats, Cubs’ center fielder Dexter Fowler was thrown out of the game by home plate ump Vic Carapazza in the bottom of the third inning. He was replaced by Jason Heyward, who had been out since Sunday because of a wrist injury.
One inning later, the Cubs got their offense going. After a leadoff single by Tommy LaStella, Kris Bryant crushed a ground rule double that got stuck in the ivy in centerfield. Then, Anthony Rizzo was walked intentionally to load the bases. The next batter, Ben Zobrist ripped and RBI single into right scoring LaStella and Bryant to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. However, Bryce Harper did throw out Anthony Rizzo at third on the play for the first out of the inning.
Kyle Hendricks continued to dominant the Nats into the top of the sixth inning. Bryce Harper lashed a single into right to lead off the inning, but Hendricks continued to cruise as he struck out Ryan Zimmerman on three pitches to keep the score 2-0. Hendricks was replaced by Clayton Richard in the top of the seventh after a great outing. He went six innings, gave up no runs on two hits, struck out four, and walked two in the win.
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Although he did not get any run support, Ross had another solid outing and kept the Washington Nationals in the game. He went 6.2 innings, gave up two runs on five hits, struck out nine, and walked two, but he would end up picking up his first loss of the season.
The Cubs would add to their lead in the eighth against Felipe Rivero. After a botched pickoff play by the Nats, with one man on and two outs, Ben Zobrist hit his third home run of the season to extend the lead to 4-0.
Zobrist, who the Washington Nationals had targeted in free agency this winter, had a great day going 2-for-4 and driving in all four Chicago runs. The Cubs continued to pour it on when Addison Russell hit an RBI double to left, scoring Ryan Kalish to make it 5-0.
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The Nats didn’t come all the way back, but Jayson Werth did hit his sixth homer of the year against Travis Wood in the ninth inning to cut the deficit to 5-2.
Next Game: Tomorrow afternoon, the Washington Nationals (19-9) will continue their series with the Chicago Cubs (21-6) at Wrigley Field. You can catch the game on MASN or MLB Network at 2:20 p.m ET. Max Scherzer (3-1, 3.55 ERA) gets the ball for the Nats and he will be opposed by John Lackey (31 4.32) for the Cubs.