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Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg Struggles After Error; Chicago Cubs Win 8-2 In D.C.

Washington Nationals' right-hander Stephen Strasburg was rolling through 4.2 IP, but a two-out error by Ryan Zimmerman in the fifth started a series of events that saw an unsettled Nats' starter lose control of the afternoon affair. The Chicago Cubs took the second game of three in D.C. by a score of 8-2.


During his one season in Washington, D.C. as part of the Nationals' rotation, Edwin Jackson was (6-6) with a 3.35 ERA, nine home runs allowed, 26 walks (2.36 BB/9) surrendered and 93 Ks (8.43 K/9) collected in 15 starts and 99.1 innings pitched at home in Nats Park. E-Jax, 29, returned to the nation's capital for the first time as a member of the Chicago Cubs' staff this afternoon, after he signed a 4-year/$52M dollar deal with the Cubs this past winter. The decision to take a one-year deal with the Nats last year was a good one, since he parlayed it into the multi-year deal he failed to find in the winter of 2011-12, but the veteran right-hander was off to a rough start with his new team in the first year of that four-year deal, going (0-5) in his first seven starts of 2013 before today. Jackson got his first win of the year against his former team, however, and even doubled in two runs in the Cubbies' 8-2 win...

Here's How It Happened:

Stephen Strasburg had those concerned with his slow starts wondering as he fell behind Cubs' leadoff man David DeJesus 3-0 in the first at bat of the game, but the Nats' 24-year-old starter battled back to work the count full and got a fly to right for the first out of the inning with a 99 mph two-seam fastball. A swinging K from Starlin Castro and groundout to Ian Desmond at short by Anthony Rizzo followed. Grounder. Desmond. Out. 16-pitch, 1-2-3 first inning for Strasburg. Edwin Jackson needed 18 pitches to retire the Nats in order in the bottom of the inning. 0-0 in D.C.

An 0-2 curve in the dirt got Alfonso Soriano swinging for out no.1 of the second and K no. 2 on the day by Strasburg. Strike three got by Wilson Ramos, but the Nats' catcher threw Soriano out at first. Adam LaRoche handled a groundout off Nate Schierholtz's bat, and after Luis Valbuena fouled off a 98 mph fastball, Strasburg dropped an 82 mph 2-2 bender on the Cubs' third baseman for out and K no.3 of Chicago's second. 12-pitch, 1-2-3 inning for Strasburg. 6 up, 6 down. 28 pitches total after two. Ian Desmond doubled for the 13th time this season with one down in the Nats' second, collecting his 20th extra base hit of the year, but after advancing to third on a Danny Espinosa flyout to center, Desmond was stranded when Tyler Moore K'd swinging to end the inning.

Stephen Strasburg threw a 95 mph 1-1 fastball up and in for a called strike two and then dropped the velocity to 90 mph with a change low and inside. Have a seat, Wellington Castillo. Swinging K. Stephen Strasburg abused the Cubs' catcher for the first out of the third and the fourth K of the game. Chicago's second baseman Darwin Barney was the eighth-straight player set down by the Nats' starter when Barney grounded to short in the second at bat of the inning. Grounder. Desmond. Out. A 1-2 bender to Edwin Jackson just wasn't fair. Called strike three. 5 Ks in 3.0 scoreless after the opposing pitcher went down looking. 9 up, 9 down. The 10-pitch inning had Strasburg at 38 overall after three. Still 0-0, however. And it was still scoreless after Edwin Jackson's own 10-pitch third.

David DeJesus flew out to Roger Bernadina on the warning track in right for the tenth-straight out to start the game for Stephen Strasburg. A low, 97 mph, 2-2 heater got Starlin Castro chasing for out no.2, K no.6 and no.11 in-a-row set down in 3.2 IP, but any hope of a perfect game or no-hitter was erased when Anthony Rizzo lined to center for a two-out single. A swinging K from Alfonso Soriano followed and Strasburg had four scoreless with 7 Ks. 12 of 13 set down. 53 pitches overall after a 15-pitch inning. Edwin Jackson retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the fourth to match Strasburg with 12 of 13 set down and complete four scoreless on 55 pitches.

Nate Schierholtz made it 13 of 14 set down by Strasburg when he flew to center to start the top of the fifth. Luis Valbuena sent a sharp grounder by first for Chicago's second hit off the Nats' starter, but the Cubs' infielder tried to take third and got thrown out by Roger Bernadina and Danny Espinosa on a 9-4-3 putout. Wellington Castillo reached on an E in the next AB when Ryan Zimmerman misfired on a throw to first, and Strasburg issued his first walk of the day to Darwin Barney in the at bat that followed, putting two on with two out and Edwin Jackson due up. Strasburg got up 0-2 on the opposing pitcher, but couldn't put him away and his 3-2 fastball was lined to right-center and off the out-of-town scoreboard for a two-run double and a 2-0 Cubs' lead. A walk to David DeJesus and infield single by Starlin Castro loaded the bases for Anthony Rizzo, whose single to center brought in two more. 4-0 Chicago, but Rizzo got thrown out trying to steal second when he fell on the way to second base. 42-pitch frame, 95 overall for Strasburg after five innings pitched.

Two pitches into the bottom of the fifth, the Nationals were on the board after Ian Desmond hit a solo blast into the Red Porch seats in center field in Nats Park for his sixth home run of the year. 4-1 game. Danny Espinosa singled in the next at bat, but three outs later he was stranded at third after Chad Tracy flew to center in a pinch hit AB...

Strasburg's Line In Start No.8: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 95 P, 64S.

Zach Duke took over for the Nats in the sixth and surrendered back-to-back hits with Alfonso Soriano doubling to center and taking third on a Nate Schierholtz single. A wild pitch brought Soriano in and moved Schierholtz to third. 5-1 Cubs. An RBI double by Cody Ransom made it 6-1. A HBP on the opposing catcher put two on with no outs. Darwin Barney flew to deep center for out no.1. Ransom took third on the flyout. A bunt moved both runners into scoring position and then both of them scored on a two-out single to center by David DeJesus. 8-1 Cubs after five and a half.

What happened?

Edwin Jackson gave up his first free pass of the game to Roger Bernadina with one down in the Nats' sixth. Ryan Zimmerman took the second walk of the game in the next at bat and after Adam LaRoche singled to load the bases, E-Jax was done. (5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 88 P, 50 S). The Cubs turned to right-hander Shawn Camp vs Ian Desmond (2 for 2, 2B, HR). RBI single. 8-2 game. (3 for 3 for Desi). Danny Espinosa stepped in with the bases still loaded and K'd swinging and Tyler Moore grounded out to third. 8-2 Cubs after six.

Anthony Rizzo singled to center to start the Cubs' seventh. Ryan Zimmerman's second error of the game was a fielding error on a grounder to third by Alfonso Soriano. Ryan Mattheus got out no.1 on a Nate Schierholz fly to left, however, and got a double play grounder out of Cody Ransom to end the top of the frame without further damage. Pinch hitter Steve Lombardozzi tripled to right off Camp with one down in the Nats' seventh, but two outs later he was stranded at third and the Cubs led 8-2 after seven in D.C.

Henry Rodriguez gave up a one-out double by Darwin Barney in the top of the eighth, but retired the next two batters to complete a 14-pitch frame. Cubs' right-hander Hector Rondon retired Zimmerman, LaRoche and Desmond in order in the bottom of the eighth. Henry Rodriguez came back out for the ninth and retired the first two batters before giving up yet another double, this one to left by Alfonso Soriano. A swinging K by Nate Schierholtz in the next at bat ended Rodriguez's second scoreless. Hector Rondon came back out for the bottom of the ninth. Danny Espinosa flew out to left. Tyler Moore K'd swinging. Wilson Ramos grounded out to third. Ballgame.

Cubs win, 8-2 final.

Nationals now 20-16