Nationals drop 7-2 decision to Cubs on the 4th of July in D.C.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs went at it again for the fifth time in nine days in front of 41,274 fans in the nation's capital on the 4th of July. The Cubs jumped out to an early lead on Nats' starter Tanner Roark and held on for a 7-2 win in D.C.

"Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better." - Camus Top 5

5. Quick Recap: The Chicago Cubs connected for 10 hits in six innings last time out against Tanner Roark in Wrigley Field and they started hitting the 27-year-old right-hander early again today with Chris Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano both lining to right in the first two at bats of today's 4th of July matchup. Coghlan took third on Ruggiano's hit and scored for a 1-0 lead when Anthony Rizzo grounded into a 6-3 DP in the next AB.

Jayson Werth tied things up with one swing in the home half of the first, tossing his bat aside after taking a 3-1 fastball to left for a solo home run. Werth's 8th of 2014 made it a 1-1 game.

The Cubs took the lead right back in the top of the second, however, with back-to-back one-out singles by Nate Schierholtz and catcher John Baker and a two-out line drive by Jason Hammel that bounced off Tanner Roark's backside and shot out through short. 2-1 Cubs.

Make that 3-1 Cubs after Justin Ruggiano took a 2-0 fastball to right for a solo shot in the first at bat of the third.

Chicago added to its lead with another run in the fifth. Chris Coghlan doubled to right, took third when Justin Ruggiano K'd swinging on a ball that got by Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos and then scored on a fielder's choice when Anthony Rizzo grounded out to first in the next at bat. 4-1 Cubs.

Anthony Rendon doubled to start the seventh, knocking Jason Hammel out in the process, and scored one out later on an RBI single to right-center by Wilson Ramos that made it a 4-2 game in the Cubs' favor.

The Cubs loaded the bases in the ninth, with Nats' right-hander Barrett giving up a double by Ryan Sweeney and intentional walk after taking over on the mound for Ross Detwiler, who surrendered a one-out single to left by Darwin Barney. Chris Coghlan stepped in with the bases juiced, and singled to left to make it 5-2 Chicago.

Starlin Castro singled with the bases loaded to drive in two more and it was 7-2 Cubs by the time the top of the ninth was over.

That's how it ended. Happy 4th of July.

4. Roark vs the Cubs Again: Washington Nationals' right-hander Tanner Roark gave up 10 hits and four runs in his last outing against the Cubs on the road in his home state of Illinois in a 7-2 loss to Chicago. It was the only outing in June in which the 27-year-old starter gave up more than two runs. Of the ten hits he allowed in the loss in Wrigley Field, just one was an extra base hit.

"Just kind of base hit to death," Roark told reporters after having a four-start winning streak snapped.

"They were squaring the ball up and hitting it right through the hole, so nothing you can do about it, come out next start... and go get them then." -Tanner Roark after loss to the Cubs last week

"They were squaring the ball up and hitting it right through the hole, so nothing you can do about it, come out next start, I've got them again, I believe, on the 4th of July, so come back out and go get them then."

"Some tweeners out there," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said. "They got some hits when they needed to."

After the loss to the Cubs in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, Roark dropped to (3-2) with a 4.44 ERA, a 3.47 FIP, eight walks (1.48 BB/9) and 40 Ks (7.40 K/9) in 48 ⅔ IP in eight starts on the road this season, over which opposing hitters have put up a .250/.292/.400 line against the Nats' starter.

This afternoon, however, Roark was back in the comfortable confines of Nationals Park, where the Nats' second-year starter was (4-3) in eight starts before today's, with a 1.59 ERA, a 3.28 FIP, 16 walks (2.82 BB/9) and 34 Ks (6.00 K/9)  in 51 IP in which he'd held the opposition to a combined .228/.293/.298 line...

1st: Chris Coghlan led off with a line drive to right and Justin Ruggiano did the same, putting runners on the corners with no one out. Anthony Rizzo grounded into a double play in the next at bat, but the run scored to give the Cubs an early 1-0 lead. Roark got a lineout to short with an 0-2 fastball to Starlin Castro for out no.3 to end an 11-pitch opening frame...

2nd: Luis Valbuena K'd swinging at a 1-1 fastball for out no.1 in the second, but Nate Schierholtz lined to right-center on a first-pitch fastball for the Cubs' third hit. John Baker sent a ground ball through short for another single off Roark. Darwin Barney lined out to right for out no.2, but Jason Hammel bounced an RBI hit off the Nats' starter's backside and it ricocheted through the hole at short to drive in a run and make it 2-1 Cubs. Chris Coghlan's pop to foul territory in left ended a 17-pitch second. 28 total for Roark after two.

3rd: Roark fell behind Justin Ruggiano, 2-0, then gave up a solo home run to right on a fastball to the Cubs' center fielder, whose 4th HR of the year made it 3-1 Cubs. An 0-2 fastball to Anthony Rizzo got a swinging K. Starlin Castro flew to center for out no.2. Luis Valbuena's pop to short center ended a 10-pitch 3rd that left Roark at 38 pitches overall.

4th: Adam LaRoche leapt but couldn't pull down a line drive single to right by Nate Schierholtz. Schierholz was running and slid into second on a fly to center off John Baker's bat, so he was almost doubled up at first, but Denard Span's throw in was high... but Schierholtz was actually out because he didn't touch second on the way back. How do you score that one? Darwin Barney singled to center with two down for the Cubs' eighth hit of the game, but Jason Hammel grounded into a force at second in the next at bat. 15-pitch frame, 53 pitches.

5th: Chris Coghlan doubled to right on an 0-1 fastball that didn't make it inside. Justin Ruggiano K'd swinging at a 2-2 curve in the dirt that got by Wilson Ramos, allowing Coghlan to take third, and a groundout to first by Anthony Rizzo brought the Cubs' fourth run in. 4-1. Starlin Castro K'd swinging on a 1-2 slider to end a 12-pitch inning by Roark, who was up to 65 pitches overall after five.

6th: Luis Valbuena lined out to first. Nate Schierholtz popped to short left. John Baker walked with two down, taking the first free pass of the day from Roark, but Darwin Barney flew to center to end a 10-pitch frame. 75 total after six.

7th: Jason Hammel lined out to third on the fourth pitch of the seventh. Chris Coghlan K'd swinging through a 1-2 heater. A pop to foul territory behind first off Justin Ruggiano's bat ended a 12-pitch frame. 87 total for Roark.

• Tanner Roark's Line: 7.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 87 P, 61 S, 3/3 GO/FO.

3. Unbeatable: Jason Hammel's win over Washington last week in Wrigley Field left the Chicago Cubs' starter with a (7-0) record in nine career starts against the Nats, over which the 31-year-old right-hander has put up a 3.12 ERA with 10 walks (1.48 BB/9) and 51 Ks (7.57 K/9) in 60 ⅔ IP in which he held Nationals' hitters to a combined .238/.268/.362 line.

On the year, the nine-year veteran who signed a 1-year/$6M deal with the Cubs this season after pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies and Baltimore Orioles in his first eight major league seasons, was (7-5) after the win over the Nats with a 2.98 ERA, 3.11 FIP, 21 walks (1.84 BB/9) and 97 Ks (8.50 K/9) in 16 starts and 102 ⅔ IP.

His second outing in a row against the Nationals began with two quick outs, but he started behind Jayson Werth 3-1 and gave up a massive blast to left field by the Nats' right fielder, who tied it up with one swing and tossed his bat aside casually before rounding the bases. 1-1 game after one in D.C. 13-pitch frame for Hammel.

Ryan Zimmerman reached on an infield single in the first at bat of the Nats' second, but Hammel pulled a DP grounder out of Anthony Rendon and threw an 0-2 slider by Ian Desmond to end a quick, eight-pitch second in the nation's capital. 21 total after two.

Denard Span doubled to the right-center gap with two down in the second, but a 2-2 breaking ball got Bryce Harper swinging to strand Span and end an 18-pitch frame. 39 pitches in three innings by Hammel.

Jayson Werth walked to start the Nationals' fourth, but three outs later he was still standing at first when Anthony Rendon struck out to end a 12-pitch inning. 51 total for Hammel after four.

Ian Desmond singled and Wilson Ramos walked to put the first two runners on in the Nats' fifth, but Tanner Roark K'd trying to bunt with the count full and failed to move the runners up. Denard Span grounded into a force at second for out no.2, bringing Bryce Harper up with runners on the corners and two down, but Harper K'd swinging at a 1-2 curve to end a 24-pitch inning by Hammel, that left him at 75 total after five.

Ryan Zimmerman worked the count full but took a fastball outside for a called third strike and the third out of a quick, 15-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth by Hammel, that left the Cubs' starter at 90 pitches overall.

Anthony Rendon doubled to left to start the Nationals' seventh and the Cubs went to the bullpen for right-handed reliever Neil Ramirez...

Jason Hammel's Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 92 P, 54 S, 7/1 GO/FO.

2. Comeback Kids: The Nationals trailed the Rockies 3-0 early in the series finale with Colorado on Wednesday night, but as manager Matt Williams put it after the 4-3 win in Washington, D.C., they never really feel out of any games and they've managed to come back repeatedly this season.

"I don't think we ever think that we're out of it," Williams said. "I think we think that we have a chance at any time, especially three down. With the at bats that the guys can put together, we've got a chance. So it's important that if we get in those situations that we make sure we understand that and over the course of the season we've come back in a lot of those situations. So that's just a testament to the way they go about it."

The Nationals fell behind 1-0 early this morning on the 4th of July in D.C., but a half inning later it was a tie game after Jayson Werth hit one out to left to make it 1-1.

The Cubs jumped right back on top, however, with a run in the second on an RBI single by Jason Hammel and a solo home run by Justin Ruggiano in the third made it a 3-1 game.

The Cubs added another run in the fifth for a three-run lead.

The Nationals cut into the Cubs' lead with Anthony Rendon scoring on an RBI single to right by Wilson Ramos in the seventh, 4-2...

No comeback today, however, whether or not they "felt" out of it...

1. The Wrap-Up: After Jason Hammel limited the Nationals to one run in six innings of work on the mound in Nats Park, he was lifted when Anthony Rendon doubled to left to start the seventh. Right-hander Neil Ramirez took over on the mound and struck Ian Desmond out before he surrendered an RBI double to right-center.

Ross Detwiler took over on the mound for the Nationals in the eighth and gave up a one-out double to left by Starlin Castro that got stuck under the fence in the corner. Castro took third on a groundout to first by Luis Valbuena, but Nate Schierholtz popped to short right to end the top of the inning.

Pedro Strop took over on the mound for the Cubs in the bottom of the eighth. Jayson Werth doubled to right with one down, but Adam LaRoche K'd on a check-swing strike three for out no.2. Ryan Zimmerman stepped in as the tying run, but flew out to right to end the eighth.

Ross Detwiler gave up a one-out single by Darwin Barney in the top of the ninth and Aaron Barrett gave up a one-out double by pinch hitter Ryan Sweeney. An intentional walk to Chris Coghlan set up a potential double play, but an RBI single by Justin Ruggiano made it 5-2 Cubs instead.

Jerry Blevins took over on the mound with the Cubs up by three and gave up a two-run single to center by Starlin Castro that blew this one open, 7-2 Chicago.

Brian Schlitter came on to end it and retired the side in order. 7-2 Cubs final.

Nationals now 46-39

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