Denard Span grounded out on the first pitch of the game. Ryan Zimmerman took a 95 1-2 sinker for a called strike three. Bryce Harper flew out to left and the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs were underway with Cubs' right-hander Jake Arrieta tossing an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 first in the third game of four for the Nats in Wrigley Field. Ross Ohlendorf and his old-timey windup returned from the DL in time for tonight's start. One out into the game, he and the Nationals trailed 1-0 after Cubs' first baseman Anthony Rizzo launched a 94 mph full-count fastball to right to end a nine-pitch at bat with a solo home run. No.19 of 2013 for Rizzo. Junior Lake doubled to left on a 1-2 slider in the next at bat, beating a throw in from Harper to second base, but he was stranded there at the end of a 24-pitch opening frame by the Nats' right-hander.
Ian Desmond walked with one down in the Nationals' second to give the Nats' their first baserunner. Adam LaRoche hit an opposite field single to right for Washington's first hit. Steve Lombardozzi worked a gritty eight-pitch walk to load the bases for Nats' catcher Kurt Suzuki. Suzuki battled for six pitches and sent a 2-2 sinker to the right side of the infield that got under Anthony Rizzo's glove and allowed two runs to score. 2-1 Nats. Ross Ohlendorf fell behind 0-2 but got a safety squeeze down to bring Lombardozzi in from third for a 3-1 lead after one and a half.
Ohlendorf took the mound in the bottom of inning, and retired the Cubs in order in a 14-pitch frame that had him at 38 overall after two.
Ryan Zimmerman singled through the left side of the infield to start the top of the third. Jake Arrieta walked Bryce Harper in a five-pitch at bat, putting two on in front of Jayson Werth with no one out. Werth got the green light on a 3-0 pitch and deposited it in the left field seats, just over ivy-covered wall and fence atop it for a three-run home run and a 6-1 Nats' lead. Steve Lombardozzi singled to center two outs later, but he was forced out at second on an inning-ending grounder to short by Kurt Suzuki. 6-1 Nats in the third. Starlin Castro got a one-out grounder under Ryan Zimmerman's glove for a single in the Cubs' half of the third inning. A walk to Anthony Rizzo and a ball on the first pitch to Junior Lake earned Ross Ohlendorf a visit from his catcher, but with help from Denard Span on a sliding catch in center, Ohlendorf got two quick outs to strand both runners at the end of a 16-pitch fame that had him up to 54 overall after three.
Jake Arrieta walked Ross Ohlendorf on five pitches in the first at bat of the fourth, but got a grounder to third from Denard Span and a 5-6-3 for the first two outs. Ryan Zimmerman took a 1-2 fastball for a called strike three to end a quick 13-pitch frame for the Cubs' starter. Donnie Murphy rolled one out to third for the first out of the Cubs' fourth after battling Ohlendorf for ten pitches. Ohlendorf fielded a grounder back to the mound off Brian Bogusevic's bat for out no.2. Darwin Barney walked with two down, but Wellington Castillo grounded into a force at second to end a 21-pitch fourth that had Ohlendorf up to 75 pitches after four innings pitched.
Right-hander Carlos Villanueva took over for the Cubs in the fifth and struck Bryce Harper out to start the frame. Jayson Werth was left shaking his head after Villanueva dropped a 57 mph curve on him, and the Nats' slugger flew out to right in front of Ian Desmond, whose groundout to third ended an 11-pitch inning by Chicago's reliever. Logan Watkins singled to center in the first at bat of the Cubs' fifth. Starlin Castro grounded into a force at second but beat the relay throw to first, so Anthony Rizzo's second home run of the game was a two-run blast that made it a 6-3 game in the fifth. 1-0 change, three-run game. Rizzo's 20th of 2013. Junior Lake singled in the next at bat, and Ohlendorf was done after 4.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 2 HRs, 91 P, 60 S, 8/0 GO/FO.
Tanner Roark, from Wilmington, Illinois, had his own personal cheering section in Wrigley Field that went crazy when he took the mound in relief of Ohlendorf. Nate Schierholtz greeted Roark with a single to right that sent Lake around to third. Donnie Murphy stepped in next and lined an RBI single to center that made it a 6-4 game. Brian Bogusevic hit the fourth straight single to left, loading the bases with one out. Pinch hitter Cole Gilespie hit for Villanueva and started 3-0 before taking a 3-1 pitch to left for the fifth single in a row. 6-5 game. Wellington Castillo hit a sac fly to left in the next at bat that tied things up at 6-6 after five in Chicago.
Adam LaRoche doubled to right and into the ivy on a full-count fastball from Cubs' right-hander Michael Bowden. Steve Lombardozzi K'd looking at a 2-2 fastball for out no.1. Kurt Suzuki popped up behind second for out no.2. Anthony Rendon's groundout to short stranded LaRoche. 6-6 in the sixth. Tanner Roark struck out the side in the Cubs' half of the sixth, getting Junior Lake looking to end a 14-pitch bottom of the inning.
Cubs' lefty James Russell retired the first two Nationals he faced in the top of the seventh, but Bryce Harper doubled off the ivy 400+ feet from home with two down in the top of the inning, giving Jayson Werth a chance with a RISP. Russell gave Werth the intentionals, bringing Scott Hairston to the plate, and Hairston jacked a 1-2 change, taking it deep to left field and onto Waveland Ave for a three-run blast and a 9-6 Nats' lead after six and a half. Nate Schierholtz hit the first pitch Craig Stammen threw to center for a leadoff single in the Cubs' seventh. Stammen struck the next two batters out and got an assist from Steve Lombardozzi, who barehanded a weak grounder off Darnell McDonald's bat and beat the runner to first with a sidearm throw. 9-6 Nats after seven.
Hector Rondon took over on the mound in the eighth. Steve Lombardozzi grounded out to Anthony Rizzo, who tossed to the covering pitcher. Kurt Suzuki singled to center with one down. Anthony Rendon K'd looking at a 1-2 heater outside he didn't think was a strike. Denard Span took a 1-0 fastball by first and into the corner in right field in Wrigley Field for an RBI triple that made it 10-6 Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman drove Span win with a single that made it 11-6 Nats after seven and a half. Tyler Clippard came on in the bottom of the inning and retired the Cubs in order in a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 inning.
Jayson Werth walked on four pitches in the first at bat of the ninth. David DeJesus hit a grounder to first that Anthony Rizzo bobbled but played for out no.1. Adam LaRoche K'd swinging. Steve Lombardozzi grounded out to short. On to the ninth. Rafael Soriano came on in a non-save situation and gave up a leadoff single to center by Anthony Rizzo. Junior Lake popped out to the infield for the first out of the inning. ONE! Nate Schierholtz K'd swinging for out no.2. TWO!! Donnie Murphy... singled to right to keep hope alive. Brian Bogusevic singled to left, but Anthony Rizzo overran third and got tagged out to end it. 11-6 Nationals.
Nationals now 62-64