"Chicago, the New Age, But what would Frank Lloyd Wright say? Oh Columbia!" Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Washington Nationals' first baseman Adam LaRoche singled to start the top of the second inning of the second game of four to be played in Wrigley Field in this series and he scored when Ryan Zimmerman lined a double to left field and off the base of the ivy-covered wall in the next at bat. 1-0 Nats early.
The Cubs strung together four straight hits in the bottom of the second to rally back and take the lead with John Baker and Darwin Barney driving in runs with singles on the third and fourth hits, 2-1.
#Cubs grab the lead! Back-to-back RBI singles by Baker and Barney make it 2-1 in the 2nd.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 27, 2014
Adam LaRoche tied it up with one swing in the fourth, however, taking a 2-0 fastball to right and over the ivy-covered outfield wall for a solo blast, his 10th of the season. Tied up at 2-2.
But Tanner Roark couldn't hold the lead. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Chris Coghlan and John Baker hit back-to-back singles and two outs later both scored on a two-run single to center by Ryan Sweeney. 4-2 Chicago.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with a double by Justin Ruggiano, an intentional walk to Starlin Castro and an unintentional walk to Luis Valbuena. John Baker's base-clearing double in the next at bat made it 7-2 Cubs after seven.
That's how it ended.
4. 1 Hour, 4 Minutes North: Tanner Roark, 27, was born in Wilmington, Illinois, a little over an hour south of the city of Chicago. This afternoon in the Wrigley Field, the second-year major leaguer was on the mound for his second career outing in his home state and the Cubs' home field.
On August 21, 2013, Roark replaced Ross Ohlendorf after the veteran righty ran out of gas 4 ⅓ innings into the third game of a four-game set on Chicago's North side. Roark gave up four straight hits and two runs as a 6-1 Nats' lead evaporated quickly.
Roark managed to get out of the inning with the score tied at 6-6, and then-Nationals' manager Davey Johnson decided to send him back out for more work in the bottom of the sixth.
"[Ross] Ohlendorf was pitching real good," Johnson explained, "and he kind of ran out of gas just like he was done. And then Roark giving up five straight hits or something like that? I knew that wasn't going to happen again, that's why I sent him back out. I knew the chances were he would pitch a lot better the next time."
Roark responded by striking out the side in a quick, 14-pitch, 1-2-3 frame and he was still the pitcher of record when Scott Hairston hit a three-run bomb in the top of the seventh, so he earned the win to improve to (3-0) on the year in a rookie campaign that would wrap up with the sort-of out-of-nowhere starter/reliever (7-1) with a 1.51 ERA, a 2.41 FIP, 11 walks (1.84 BB/9) and 40 Ks (6.71 K/9) in 53 ⅔ IP in his first stint in the majors.
Roark earned a place in the 2014 Nats' rotation this spring when an injury to Doug Fister kept the Nationals from having to decide between the Illinois-native and right-hander Taylor Jordan, both of whom were fighting for the final spot.
Through 15 starts in his second major league season before today's outing in the friendly, 100-year-old confines of Wrigley Field, Roark was (7-4) with a 2.79 ERA, a 3.40 FIP, 23 walks (2.21 BB/9) and 72 Ks (6.92 K/9) in 93 ⅔ IP.
The August outing last season was his only previous one against the Cubs before today. He took the mound this afternoon in the second game of a four-game set in his home state in the midst of an impressive month of June in which he was (4-1) with a 1.44 ERA, seven walks (2.01 BB/9) and 26 Ks (7.47 K/9) in 31 ⅓ IP over which opposing hitters have put up a combined .233/.276/.292 line.
Today in a fog-less Wrigley Field Roark took the mound in front of a large contingent of Wilmington, Illinois-natives...
1st: Ryan Sweeney popped out to short on the second pitch of the first inning. Justin Ruggiano rolled over a 93 mph 2-2 fastball outside. Anthony Rizzo stepped in with two out and sent a soft liner to left-center for a two-out single. Starlin Castro fell behind 0-2 and flew out to right to end a 17-pitch frame by Roark.
2nd: Luis Valbuena lined a double to right on an 83 mph full-count change. Chris Coghlan battled for nine pitches and reached on an infield single to short that Ian Desmond got to but pocketed. Cubs' catcher John Baker grounded back to the mound and by Roark for an RBI single that moved Coghlan to third and a bloop single to center by Darwin Barney brought Coghlan in to make it a 2-1 game in Chicago's favor. Jason Hammel grounded back to the mound and into a force at third for out no.1. Ryan Sweeney popped to short for out no.2. A swinging K by Justin Ruggiano ended a 34-pitch frame. 51 total for Roark after two.
3rd: Anthony Rizzo grounded out to first. Starlin Castro rolled one out to third. A fly to center off Luis Valbuena's bat ended a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 frame that left Roark at 63 pitches.
4th: Chris Coghlan was first-pitch swinging and he singled to right to start the Cubs' fourth. John Baker lined a single to left and there were two on with no out. Darwin Barney grounded out to short and Jason Hammel K'd swinging, but Ryan Sweeney lined a two-out single to center for a two-run hit and a 4-2 lead. Anthony Rizzo's fly to center ended a 13-pitch frame. 76 total after four.
5th: Starlin Castro grounded out to third to start the bottom of the fifth. Luis Valbuena battled for eight pitches before flying out to the warning track in right. Chris Coghlan was called safe at first on a grounder to short. Matt Williams came out to argue and upon review, the call was reversed. 13-pitch frame, 89 overall.
6th: A leadoff walk to John Baker left Roark at 95 pitches, but he got a line drive to second and a 4-3 DP off Darwin Barney's bat. Jason Hammel singled by a lunging Anthony Rendon at third for a two-out hit, but Ryan Sweeney's fly to left ended a 12-pitch frame. 101 pitches total for Roark.
As the bottom of the seventh begins, @JerryBlevins_13 takes over for Tanner Roark. The line on Roark: 6 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 27, 2014
• Tanner Roark's Line: 6.0 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 101 P, 72 S, 7/4 GO/FO.
3. Hammel vs the Nats: Cubs' right-hander Jason Hammel was winless in four starts leading up to this afternoon's matchup against the visiting Washington Nationals in Chicago's Wrigley Field. In those outings, opposing hitters put up a .310/.346/.490 line against the 31-year-old, who walked five (1.80 BB/9), struck out 29 (10.44 K/9) and posted a 3.60 ERA and a 3.06 FIP in 25 IP .
On the year, in his ninth MLB season, Hammel was (6-5) with a .275/.336/.430 line against, a 2.99 ERA, 3.07 FIP, 20 walks (1.87 BB/9) and 91 Ks (8.50 K/9) in 96 ⅓ IP before today's game.
In eight career starts against the Nationals, Hammel (who pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies and Baltimore Orioles before signing a 1-year/$6M deal with the Cubs this season), was (6-0) with a 3.15 ERA, nine walks (1.49 BB/9) and 45 Ks (7.45 K/9) in 54 ⅓ IP against Washington, over which Nats' hitters were held to a combined .241/.270/.358 line.
His ninth start against the Nationals began with a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 first inning.
Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman connected for back-to-back hits in the first two at bats in the second with LaRoche singling and scoring from first on Zimmerman's line drive double to left, 1-0.
That was all for the Nats in the second, however, in an 19-pitch inning by Hamel.
Given a 2-1 lead to work with, Hammel came back with a scoreless, 19-pitch third that left him at 48 pitches total after three.
Adam LaRoche tied things up in the top of the fourth, taking a 2-0 fastball out to right on a line for his 10th HR of 2014. 15 pitches later, he'd retired three batters in a row to end his fourth inning of work at 64 pitches.
A 13-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth left Hammel at 77 pitches. A 13-pitch sixth gave Hammel nine straight outs after LaRoche's home run and left him at 90 pitches total after six.
Wilson Ramos singled to center with one down in the seventh, breaking Hammel's streak of retired batters at 10 and ending his afternoon... but Brian Schlitter got a double play grounder out of Ian Desmond in the next at bat to end the inning.
Jason Hammel's final line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks. He is currently in line for the win. #Cubs
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 27, 2014
• Jason Hammel's Line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 101 P, 64 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
• 2. Random #s: With last night's win, the Cubs climbed within two games of tying the head-to-head series with the Nationals, which they trailed 31-29 since the Montreal Expos moved to the nation's capital in 2005.
Washington's 5-2 loss last night left them 7-34 this season in games in which they score three runs or less. When scoring four or more runs, the Nats are 34-3 this season. The loss left the Nationals 18-20 overall on the road in 2014, but 4-6 in their last ten road contests.
1. The Wrap-Up: A Wilson Ramos single with one down in the seventh ended Jason Hammel's outing. Right-hander Brian Schlitter got a double play grounder out of Ian Desmond in the at bat that followed the hit by Ramos and the Cubs led 4-2 after six and a half in Wrigley Field.
Jerry Blevins took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a double to center by Justin Ruggiano in the first at bat. Ruggiano took third on a passed ball with Anthony Rizzo up, but Rizzo popped out to Ian Desmond for the first out of the frame. The Nats walked Starlin Castro intentionally to set up the DP, and an unintentional walk to Luis Valbuena loaded them up for John Baker, who cleared the bases with a line drive double to right that made it 7-2 Cubs.
Cubs' lefty Wesley Wright gave up one and two-out hits in the eighth but nothing else in a scoreless frame.
Taylor Hill came on for his second major league appearance in the bottom of the inning and gave up a single in a scoreless inning of work.
Justin Grimm came on to end it with a scoreless ninth. Ballgame.