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Nationals sweep doubleheader to earn split with Cubs in Wrigley Field, 7-2 tonight

The Washington Nationals came out of tonight's rain delay swinging and scored four runs on Chicago Cubs' starter Jeff Samardzija in the sixth inning of the Nats' doubleheader-sweeping 7-2 win in Wrigley Field. A solo blast by Wilson Ramos started it...

David Banks

Come on, feel the Illinoise! Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: Chicago Cubs' right-hander Jeff Samardzija threw a 2-2 splitter down in the zone, but Washington Nationals' first baseman Adam LaRoche went down to get it and sent a solo home run sailing out to right and out of Wrigley Field after a bounce in the stands. LaRoche's 11th HR of 2014 was his 3rd in 16 plate appearances against Samardzija in their respective careers (6 for 16, 3 HRs). 1-0 early.

Nate McLouth started the Nationals' third with a double to right and a sac bunt and sac fly brought him around to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead after two and a half.

The Cubs rallied to tie it, however.

Starlin Castro sent a chopper toward third that Ian Desmond couldn't barehand, and Luis Valbuena stepped up next and hit a 3-1 sinker out to left for two-run blast that tied things up at 2-2.

Jeff Samardzija returned to the mound after the hour-long rain delay which interrupted tonight's game and gave up a home run by Wilson Ramos on the first pitch of the fifth inning. Ramos' second home run of 2014 was the first run of a four-run frame in which Kevin Frandsen and Jayson Werth drove in runs with another scoring on an error by Anthony Rizzo on an Adam LaRoche grounder to first. 6-2 Nationals after five.

The Nationals added a run in the ninth when Ross Detwiler and Jayson Werth walked with two down and Hector Rondon on the mound and Adam LaRoche singled to right Detwiler in from second. 7-2 Nats.

That's how it ended...

4. Treinen Again: Washington Nationals' right-hander Blake Treinen struggled with his command last time out in the majors, giving up five hits, three walks and two earned runs in five innings of work in AT&T Park in a 7-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants in which he threw 79 pitches and took the loss.

"That's his go-to pitch. It's mid-90s and sinking and he's one pitch away from a double play ball all the time." -Matt Williams on Blake Treinen's "power sinker"

"I had trouble commanding my fastball today," Treinen told reporters after the outing against the Giants in which he got himself into and out of trouble, giving up two runs in the second, but escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam in a 24-pitch fourth inning.

"If I command my fastball a little better, maybe I go deeper in the game like a starter should," Treinen said. "I just have to execute pitches better. Next time I'll be better at it."

Treinen was optioned back to Triple-A after his start in San Francisco, ending his third stint of the season with the Nationals.

He was called back up today without any corresponding move necessary since the rosters can expand to include 26 players for doubleheaders.

Through eight games before tonight's, four of them starts with the Nationals, Treinen was (0-3) with a 2.08 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 10 walks (2.97 BB/9) and 17 Ks (5.04 K/9) in 30 ⅓ IP. In eight starts at Triple-A Syracuse, the 25-year-old right-hander was (4-0) with a 1.80 ERA, 2.51 FIP, nine walks (2.31 BB/9) and 31 Ks (7.97 K/9) in 35 IP.

Tonight in Wrigley Field, Treinen started the game with a groundout.

1st: Chris Coghlan grounded out to first base to start the Cubs' first inning. Ryan Sweeney took an 0-2 sinker inside for a called strike three. Anthony Rizzo's groundout to short ended a quick, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.

2nd: Starlin Castro grounded out to start the second. Luis Valbuena lined a one-out single to right on a 96 mph 2-1 sinker, but he was forced out at second on a grounder to third off Welington Castillo's bat. Nate Schierholtz popped to short-center, and it fell in for a two-out single when Nate McLouth couldn't come up with it. Castillo took third to put runners on the corners with two out. Darwin Barney grounded into a force at second, however, and Treinen was through two innings on 28 pitches after a 17-pitch second..

3rd: Jeff Samardzija grounded out to the mound. Chris Coghlan flew out to center. Ryan Sweeney K'd swinging. Seven-pitch frame. 35 total after three.

4th: Anthony Rizzo popped out to second to start the Cubs' fourth. Ian Desmond tried to barehand a weak roller off Anthony Rizzo's bat, but came up empty. Luis Valbuena stepped in with a runner on and crushed a 3-1 sinker up in the zone, sending a two-run blast screaming out to right to tie the game up with one swing. 2-2. Welington Castillo grounded to first for out no.2. Nate Schierholtz was up when the rain became too heavy and the tarp was rolled out on the field... An hour later, Treinen came back out and struck out Schierholtz to end a 25-pitch frame. 60 pitches overall.

5th: Darwin Barney grounded out to the mound to start the bottom of the fifth. Pinch hitter Mike Olt walked with one down. Chris Coghlan popped to the left side of the infield for out no.2 and Ryan Sweeney's groundout to Adam LaRoche at first ended the inning after 18 pitches from Treinen, who was up to 78 overall.

Blake Treinen's Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 75 P, 54 S, 9/1 GO/FO.

3. The Cubs' Shark: Jeff Samardzija, 29, took the mound tonight in Wrigley Field, in the second game of today's day/night doubleheader with the visiting Washington Nationals, with a (2-6) record, a 2.53 ERA, a 2.89 FIP, 31 walks (2.71 BB/9) and 97 Ks (8.48 K/9), 16 starts and 103 IP into his seventh major league season.

The Cubs' '06 5th Round pick out of Notre Dame was facing the Nats for the 12th time in his career, and the fifth time as a starter. In his previous outings against Washington, Samardzija was (2-2) with a 2.35 ERA, four walks (0.94 BB/9) and 36 Ks (8.45 K/9) in 38 ⅓ IP over which the right-hander held Nationals' hitters to a combined .238/.257/.388 line.

Samardzija was just (1-2) in five June starts leading up to tonight's outing, however, with a 4.82 ERA (3.06 FIP) in 28 IP after he put up a 1.32 ERA (2.33 FIP) in 34 IP in May and a 1.98 ERA (3.24 FIP) in 41 IP in March/April.

In his five starts this month, the Cubs' righty walked 10 (3.21 BB/9) and K'd 33 (10.61 K/9), but opposing hitters posted a .292/.368/.477 line against him in those starts after he held the opposition to a .247/.311/.349 line in the first month-plus of the season and a .171/.229/.231 line in May.

The Cubs' starter's 17th outing of 2014 began with a 12-pitch first in which he gave up a one-out single, but got an inning-ending 6-4-3.

Five pitches into the second, however, Samardzija and the Cubs trailed 1-0 after Adam LaRoche hit a solo blast out of the park on a bounce. LaRoche's 11th gave the Nationals an early lead. Eleven pitches and three outs later, Samardzija was through the second on 16 pitches and up to 28 pitches total after two.

Nate McLouth doubled to right to start the third, took third base on a sac bunt by Blake Treinen and scored on a sac fly to right by Anthony Rendon. 2-0. Eight-pitch frame, 36 total after three.

A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth left the Cubs' righty at 46 pitches overall.

Jeff Samardzija came back out after the rain delay, but the first pitch he threw ended up getting crushed by Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos, who hit a solo home run out to center to break the 2-2 tie. 3-2 Nationals on Ramos' 2nd.

Nate McLouth was hit by a pitch one out later, and after Blake Treinen K'd trying to bunt, Anthony Rendon, Kevin Frandsen and Jayson Werth hit back-to-back-to-back singles off Samardzija, with Frandsen and Werth driving in runners to make it 5-2 Nationals in the fifth. 29-pitch fame, 75 total after five.

Jeff Samardzija's Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 75 P, 54 S, 5/3 GO/FO.

2. Turning Point: An hour delay in the bottom of the fourth was just short enough that both starters returned to the mound once play resumed, but on his first pitch after an hour off, Jeff Samardzija gave up a solo home run by Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos, whose second blast of the season opened the floodgates.

The Nats scored three more in the fifth to take a 6-2 lead on the Cubs.

1. The Wrap-Up: Cubs' right-hander James Russell took over on the mound in the top of the sixth. Nate McLouth doubled with two down, but he was stranded at second when pinch hitter Scott Hairston popped up to end the top of the sixth.

Xavier Cedeno took over on the mound for the Nationals in the sixth. Nate McLouth saved the Nats' lefty on a blast by Anthony Rizzo, leaping into the ivy-covered brick wall to catch the first out of the frame. Starlin Castro doubled to left in the next at bat, and one out later took third on a grounder to short by Welington Castillo that Ian Desmond stopped but dropped on the transfer. With runners on the corners and two down, Cedeno got Nate Schierholtz looking to end the sixth.

Neil Ramirez hit Kevin Frandsen with one down, but completed a scoreless 15-pitch top of the seventh.

Ross Detwiler needed 13 pitches to retire the Cubs in order in the bottom of the frame.

Pedro Strop gave up a one-out single by Ian Desmond, but nothing else in the top of the eighth.

In his second inning of relief work, Detwiler needed just nine pitches to retire the side in order.

Detwiler and Jayson Werth walked with two down in the top of the ninth and Adam LaRoche drove another run in with a single to right that made it 7-2 Nationals.

The Nationals sent Detwiler out for another inning of work in the ninth and he retired the Cubs in order to end it.

7-2 Nationals.

Nationals now 43-38