Sep 6, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (34) is congratulated by first baseman Adam LaRoche (25) after scoring a run against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
• Carry Much?: David DeJesus stared a 96 mph 0-2 fastball all the way in for a called strike three and K no.1 of Washington Nationals' right-hander Jordan Zimmermann's 28th start of 2012. Jayson Werth was blinded by the lights in Nats Park, but he managed to catch the second out of the first on a line drive to right by Chicago's third baseman Luis Valbuena. Zimmermann got behind Cubs' first baseman Anthony Rizzo, 3-0, and the 23-year-old slugger got the green light and hit an opposite field fly to left-center that carried into the Red Porch seats for his 11th HR of 2012 and his second in the last two games against the Nats. 1-0 Cubs after one once Zimmermann struck Alfonso Soriano out to end the top of the first with his second K. Rizzo's was the fifth home run allowed in Zimmermann's last four starts. 19-pitch inning for the Nats' 26-year-old starter.
• #RUNHARP!!!: After homering twice in last night's game, 19-year-old Nats' outfielder Bryce Harper started the series finale with Chicago with a triple off the left-center wall, hustling out of the box on the line drive off Cubs' starter Justin Germano and beating the throw in to third. Triple no. 7 of 2012. Ryan Zimmerman grounded back to the mound in the next at bat, and Harper waited for the Germano to throw to first before breaking for home and sliding in safely around an attempted tag by catcher Steve Clevenger. 1-1 game after one in D.C.
• Moar Record-ish Stuff:
Bryce Harper is the first teenager with 7 triples in a season since Buddy Lewis had 13 for the Washington SENATORS in 1936.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 7, 2012
• Moar Triples: Cubs' shortstop Starlin Castro sliced an opposite field fly to right that bounced just inside the line. Fair ball. Nats' right fielder Jayson Werth had trouble recovering it, allowing the speedy infielder to race around to third with his 11th triple of 2012 to lead off the second. Zimmermann retired the next two batters without Castro coming in, getting a line drive to first by Steve Clevenger and throwing a 2-2 heater by Brett Jackson before Darwin Barney hit the second triple of the inning to the right field corner to bring Castro home. 2-1 Cubs. In the Nats half of the inning, Ian Desmond ripped a one-out double by Luis Valbuena at third for his 27th two-base hit of 2012. Danny Espinosa took a sinker in the thigh on the first pitch of the next at bat, and Kurt Suzuki got hold of a 1-2 curve from Germano and pulled it out to left, just over the wall for a three-run blast that made it 4-2 Nationals. Suzuki's 4th of 2012. 3rd as a Nat.
• E's Hurt Cubbies: DeJesus took a swing at Zimmermann's 0-2 heater the second time up after watching it cross the plate in his first at bat. He missed it, however, and Zimmermann had 5 Ks on the night after 2.1 IP. A 96 mph 2-2 fastball outside got Luis Valbuena swinging for K no.6 and one pitch and a grounder to the mound later, Zimmermann had a quick 10-pitch third in the books. Bryce Harper slid in safely at second on a two-base error by Alfonso Soriano, who had a bloop to left bounce off his glove as he charged in on it. E:7 and a runner on second to start the Nats' third. The Cubs decided not to pitch to Adam LaRoche, walking the first baseman with one down to get to Michael Morse, but Morse hit a weak grounder to first that tripped Anthony Rizzo up and loaded the bases. E:3 (ed. note - "Later ruled a hit somehow.") But Germano got a 5-4-3 DP on the first pitch to Ian Desmond and escaped the bases loaded jam. 4-2 Nats.
• Zimmermann Rolling: Two flies to left around a weak grounder to third for Jordan Zimmermann in a nine-pitch 4th that had him up to 54 pitches total after 4.0 IP. Seven Cubs in a row set down by the Nats' right-hander. Kurt Suzuki singled to center with one down in the Nationals' half of the fourth, allowing Zimmermann to bunt him over. Jayson Werth walked with two down to put two on for Bryce Harper, but another E by the Cubs, this one a throwing error by Starlin Castro on a grounder deep in the hole at short, allowed Suzuki to score from second and make it 5-2 Nationals. Make that 7-2 after Ryan Zimmerman singled through short to bring Werth and Harper home. Floodgates officially open...
• FIGHT!!!!: Brett Jackson got a piece of a high 94 mph 0-2 fastball up high, but fouled it into Kurt Suzuki's mitt for Jordan Zimmermann's 7th K in 4.1 IP. Darwin Barney grounded weakly to Ryan Zimmerman at third for out no.2 and a grounder to short ended a quick 9-pitch 4th after which Zimmermann had set 10 Cubs in a row down, and 12 of the last 13 overall. 63 pitches after 5.0 IP. Ian Desmond walked with one down in the Nats' fifth, then stole his 16th base of the year with Danny Espinosa at the plate. Espinosa lined to right for the second-straight hit off Cubs' reliever Lendy Castillo. First and third for Suzuki, who flew unproductively to short center for out no.2, but Jordan Zimmermann walked to load the bases with two down...FIGHT!!!
• Benches Clear... and the Bullpens!!: With the bases loaded and two down, Jayson Werth took a swing at a 3-0 fastball and fouled it off. Cubs' catcher Steve Clevenger went to the dugout for a new catcher's mitt and all heck broke loose. Nats' third base coach Bo Porter got into a heated discussion with someone in the Cubs' dugout. Porter was hot enough that he walked to the top step of the visiting team's dugout to argue with... [apparently] bench coach Jamie Quirk, who got tossed for his part in the argument. After order was restored, Jayson Werth took a questionable 3-1 pitch for a called strike and then flew to right to end the fifth with the score still 7-2.
• 11-In-A-Row, 12...13?: David DeJesus was the 11th Cub in a row set down by Jordan Zimmermann when he grounded to first to start the sixth. Luis Valbuena was no.12, another grounder to LaRoche. Anthony Rizzo ripped a grounder to second with two down that Danny Espinosa couldn't handle. It was ruled a hit, breaking Zimmermann's streak of retired Cubs at 12-straight, but a pop to second by Alfonso Soriano ended a quick 10-pitch top of the sixth with Zimmermann at 73 pitches overall.
• Benches Clear Again!!!: Cubs' reliever Lendy Castillo decided to throw at Bryce Harper in the first at bat of the Nationals' sixth and the 19-year-old Nat didn't like it. Harper started walking out to the mound and the benches and bullpens cleared again. Just as it was slowing down a small fight broke out around Cubs' 1B Anthony Rizzo and some members of the bullpen setting things off again. Ugly. Clevenger, Cubs' reliever Manny Corpas and Michael Gonzalez all got tossed before it was over. Ryan Zimmerman singled with one down once play resumed, ending Castillo's night. Lefty Jeff Beliveau took over and gave up a two-run home run by Adam LaRoche on the first pitch he threw. GONE!! 2-run blast. No. 29 of 2012. It gets reviewed but it counts. 9-2 Nationals after six.
• sCrUBS: Starlin Castro doubled to right-center and off the out-of-town scoreboard in the top of the seventh. Zimmermann got new Cubs' catcher Wellington Castillo swinging at an 0-2 curve for out no. 1 and K no.8 on the night. Brett Jackson walked with one down, but Darwin Barney flew to right and after a wild pitch advanced both runners, but Bryan LaHair got punched out on a check-swing strike three for Zimmermann's 9th K of the game. 9-2 after six and a half in D.C. Kurt Suzuki singled off Cubs' right-hander Miguel Socolovich on the ninth pitch of the first at bat in the Nats' seventh. Steve Lombardozzi hit for Zimmermann with one down, ending the right-hander's night, but Lombo flew out, Jayson Werth K'd swinging and Bryce Harper flew to a diving Brett Jackson in left-center to end the seventh.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 1 HR, 96 P, 68 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
• Wrap It Up: Tom Gorzellany took over for Washington in the eighth. A pop to short by Joe Mather, swinging K by Josh Vitters got him the first two outs, but he was lifted in favor of Christian Garcia after Anthony Rizzo singled with two down. Garcia vs Soriano. Swinging K. 97 with a fastball then 87 with a filthy slider. Down goes Soriano. Garcia's first MLB K. 9-2 Nats in the eighth. Michael Bowden walked Ryan Zimmerman and pinch hitter Chad Tracy to start the Nats' eighth and Michael Morse singled to load the bases with no outs. Ian Desmond popped unproductively to short right for out no.1, Danny Espinosa K'd swinging for out no.2 and Kurt Suzuki flew to left to end the eighth.
• FINISH THEM!!!: Christian Garcia came back out for the ninth. Starlin Castro... Grounder. Desmond. Out. ONE!!!! Wellington Castillo... fly to right. TWO!!! Brett Jackson... doubled and fell around second, and got tagged. Ballgame.
• Miss The Game? The D.C. Faithful Were Watching...
• Doghouse's Post Game WPA Graph: Coming SOON! W00T!!!!
Nationals now 85-52.