Stephen Strasburg reached double digits in Ks, working with his well-nigh unhittable changeup on the mound in Wrigley Field, and tossed seven scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs on 106 pitches to lead the Nationals to a 5-0 win.
The Nationals’ victory kept hope alive in the nation’s capital, and sent the NLDS back to Washington, D.C. for Game 5 tomorrow night.
Strasburg shook off the flu-like symptoms and erased any doubts about his toughness with one of the strongest starts of his career with the Nationals’ season on the line in rainy weather in the Windy City.
Trea Turner snapped his 0 for NLDS streak (0 for 13) with a broken bat, one-out double to left in the third, moved up on a wild pitch by Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta, and scored on an error by Addison Russell on a two-out dribbler off Ryan Zimmerman’s bat to put the Nationals up by a run early, 1-0, and Michael A. Taylor hit a grand slam in the Nats’ half of the eighth to put the Nationals up 5-0. That’s how it ended.
NLDS now tied, 2-2
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• After the illness, and the drama, and a whole lot of digital ink, Stephen Strasburg took the mound and tossed two scoreless to start the game, working around a double and a walk in a 21-pitch second that left him at 37 total after two.
• Trea Turner snapped his 0 for NLDS streak with a broken-bat double to left off Jake Arrieta with one down in the Nats’ third, and Turner took third base on a curve in the dirt from Arrieta to Jayson Werth that got by Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras.
Werth K’d looking at a 3-2 curve on the edge outside for out No. 2 and Bryce Harper’s second walk off Arrieta put runners on the corners in front of Ryan Zimmerman, who hit a dribbler up the middle that Addison Russell bobbled, 1-0 Nats when Turner came in from third.
• Anthony Rendon doubled for the first time in the NLDS on a 2-2 sinker inside from Arrieta, lining the two-base hit to left field in the fourth. Michael A. Taylor took the fourth walk in four innings from Arrieta one out later, and Stephen Strasburg bunted both runners over/gave up an out, before Trea Turner walked to load the bases.
Turner’s walk was the fifth from Arrieta, who walked a season-high six in his only start against the Nationals this season, in late June in D.C.
Jayson Werth stepped in next and fell behind 0-2 before fouling a few off then taking a called strike three on Arrieta’s 90th pitch of the game.
• Strasburg struck out the side in a 12-pitch third, and added a K in the first at bat of the fourth, but Willson Contreras reached on a swinging bunt and took second base when Strasburg fielded it on the wet grass and threw one by first base and into the stands on a hop.
Two outs and two Ks later, however, he was through four scoreless on 66 pitches with eight Ks total.
Stephen Strasburg just struck out the side. (Yes, this is a new tweet.) pic.twitter.com/8IcIgub3YI— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 11, 2017
• Jake Arrieta’s Line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 Ks, 90 P, 53 S, 4/0 GO/FO.
• Jon Lester took over on the mound for the Cubs in the top of the fifth and retired the side in order in a 19-pitch frame.
• Jason Heyward singled to start the Cubs’ half of the fifth, but was erased on a 6-4-3 DP on the next pitch, and Jon Lester grounded out to short to end a seven-pitch frame that left him at 73 total after five scoreless.
• Strasburg walked Anthony Rizzo with two out in the Cubs’ half of the sixth, but then popped Willson Contreras up to end a 16-pitch frame that left him at 89 pitches total after six scoreless. Still 1-0 Nationals.
• Strasburg came back out in the seventh and struck out the side in a 17-pitch frame that left him at 12 Ks and 106 pitches overall after seven scoreless.
• Ryan Zimmerman walked with one out in the Nationals’ half of the eighth, and in the craziest of crazy moments in the series, got picked off first base by Jon Lester, though they needed a replay to get the call right.
The Nationals loaded the bases with two out in the eighth, with Anthony Rendon and Matt Wieters drawing two-out walks after a Daniel Murphy single, and Carl Edwards, Jr. fell behind Michael A. Taylor 1-0 too before Joe Maddon decided to go to the Cubbies’ bullpen for closer Wade Davis, who gave up a grand slam to right on a 1-1 fastball! 5-0.
• Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 Ks, 106 P, 72 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
• Ryan Madson took over on the mound in the eighth and gave up a one-out walk and hit-by-pitch, but stranded both runners to keep it 5-0.
• Sean Doolittle took the mound in the ninth and threw a scoreless frame to end Game 4 of the NLDS. Ballgame. Final Score: 5-0 Nationals. See you in D.C. tomorrow night.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- Washington averaged 16.2 wins per month in the regular season, and finished with a 97-65 record overall, which was the second-best mark in the NL, behind only the LA Dodgers (104-58).
- Washington’s 50-31 record on the road this season was the NL’s best, and a new franchise best for the Expos/Nationals.
- Washington’s 819 runs scored and 215 home runs this season were also franchise records.
- Washington went from April 18th through the final game of the season in first place in the NL East.
- In Game 3 of the NLDS, Chicago became just the third team ever to win a post-season game after not collecting a hit through six innings, joining the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers (vs the Yankees in Game 4 of the World Series) and the 1974 Oakland A’s (vs the Baltimore Orioles in Game 4 of the ALCS).
- Chicago is 8-11 in Game 4s of post-season series, including a 2-1 record last year.
NLDS now tied, 2-2