Starlin Castro hit an opposite field double to right to start tonight's game. It was Castro's seventh two-base hit so far in 2013. The Chicago Cubs' shortstop scored on the second of back-to-back groundouts that followed, moving him around the bases to give the visiting team a 1-0 lead a half inning into the first game of three with the Nationals in Washington, D.C. Nats' lefty Ross Detwiler threw 15 pitches in the top of the first. Cubs' right-hander Jeff Samardzija got a called strike three from home plate ump Angel Hernandez with the ninth pitch he threw in the first, a 95 mph 0-2 fastball up outside to Ryan Zimmerman that the Nationals' third baseman didn't like. He let Hernandez know. Six outs into the game, a player had the first conversation of the night with the controversial official.
1B ump Doug Eddings ruled that Adam LaRoche's foot came off the bag on a high throw to first by Danny Espinosa on a grounder to second by Ryan Sweeney. Ruled an infield hit, but two pitches later Ross Detwiler got the third groundout of the Nats' lefty's 10-pitch second. 25 total for Detwiler after two. Ian Desmond reached safely on a weak grounder to short with one down in the Nationals' second, in spite of a nice barehand play and throw by Starlin Castro. An error by Samardzija on a weak roller back to the mound by Danny Espinosa put two on with one out, but Tyler Moore popped out, leaving it up to Kurt Suzuki... and 'Zuk came through!! The Nats' catcher took a 95 mph fastball to right for a two-out, two-run double off the out-of-town scoreboard that gave Washington a 2-1 lead after two with the Cubs.
Jeff Samardzija hit the second double of the night off Detwiler on the first pitch of the third. Starlin Castro hit his second double tonight and the third two-base hit overall off the Nationals' 27-year-old lefty in the next at bat, bringing the pitcher in with a line drive to right center that tied things up in Nationals Park. 2-2 game. Ross Detwiler was up to 13 pitches in the inning when he got Cody Ranson swinging with a 3-2 sinker for the first out of the third. Anthony Rizzo followed with a single to right, buy Roger "The Shark" Bernadina made a strong throw home from short right and Kurt Suzuki caught it and made a diving tag to get Castro at the plate for out no.2. A swinging K from Alfonso Soriano kept it tied at 2-2 after two and a half. 20-pitch inning for Detwiler. 45 overall after three.
Ryan Zimmerman K'd swinging at an 0-2 pitch in his second at bat vs Samardzija, who needed eight pitches to retire the Nats in order in the bottom of the third.
Scott Hairston hit a high 1-1 fastball from Detwiler over Ryan Zimmerman at third on a high hop for the third leadoff double by the Cubs' hitters in four innings vs the Nats' starter. It was the fourth two-base hit of the night for Chicago, and the second of the year for Hairston. Two outs later, Hairston was standing on third when Darwin Barney popped out to Adam LaRoche in front of the home dugout to end the top of the fourth. 15-pitch inning for Detwiler, 60 overall.
LaRoche had a seven-game hit streak going after he singled to center to start the Nationals' fourth and Ian Desmond made it a 4-2 game with a two-run home run to left on an 0-1 slider from Samardzija. Desmond's fifth home run of 2013 cleared the fence in left, but a fan made an error and let it drop back onto the field of play. #bringaglove! Still counted. 4-2 Nationals after four.
• Desmond Milestone:
That home run was Desmond's 500th career hit. Congrats, @iandesmond20!— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) May 11, 2013
Cody Ransom hit the fifth double of the night off Detwiler with two down in the top of the fifth (after Denard Span showed off his range catching what should have been double no.5 off Samardzija's bat in the first AB of the inning), but Ransom was stranded at second when Anthony Rizzo grounded out to a rangy Danny Espinosa on the right field grass to end the frame. 12-pitches for Detwiler in the 5th, 72 overall. Denard Span walked to start the Nationals' fifth, but Roger Bernadina hit one sharply to second to start a 4-6-3. Ryan Zimmerman took the second walk of the inning from Samardzija, then took third on a two-out single to right by Adam LaRoche that Scott Hairston couldn't catch and scored on a double to right by Ian Desmond that made it 5-2 Nationals. Desmond and LaRoche scored when Danny Espinosa doubled for the third-straight two-out hit and the Nationals were up 7-2 on Samardzija and the Cubs after 5.0 innings in D.C.
Detwiler retired the Cubs in order on 11 pitches in the top of the sixth, leaving him at 83 overall on the night. Cubs' right-hander Hector Rondon took over for Chicago in the bottom of the inning and retired the Nationals in order in a quick, 1-2-3 frame of his own.
Cubs' center fielder Ryan Sweeney hit the fourth leadoff double of the night and the sixth double overall off Ross Detwiler in the top of the seventh. For the record, Detwiler had allowed just eight doubles all year before facing the Cubs tonight. Detwiler left the game with two down in the inning, when he appeared to grimace in pain while running to cover first on a groundout to LaRoche. 6.2 IP for Detwiler. Craig Stammen came on to get the last out of the inning. Still 7-2 Nationals after six and half.
Ryan Zimmerman singled to left with one down in the Nats' seventh and got "thrown out" by former Nationals' outfielder Alfonso Soriano when he tried to stretch it into a double. Davey Johnson argued on Zim's behalf, but the rookie umpire, John Tumpane surprisingly refused to reverse the close call. Cubs' right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa completed a scoreless inning of work when he popped up Adam LaRoche. Still 7-2 Nats.
Craig Stammen came back out for the eighth. Anthony Rizzo hit a one-out single to right for his second hit in four at bats in the series opener. One out later, pinch hitter Nate Schierholz grounded out to second to end the top of the inning. 1.2 IP on 18 pitches for Stammen. Cubs' right-hander Shawn Camp retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the eighth and Craig Stammen came back out for the ninth to wrap things up. A groundout to third by Cubs' catcher Wellington Castillo started the inning. ONE! Ryan Sweeney took the first walk of the game from Nationals' pitchers with one down and went around to third when Darwin Barney doubled to left field. 7th of the night for Chicago. PH David DeJesus stepped in next and grounded out to second, 7-3. Two down and Starlin Castro's grounder to third made it three. Ballgame. 7-3 Nationals.
Nationals win, 7-3 final.
Nationals now 20-15