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Washington Nationals’ drop NLDS opener to Chicago Cubs, 3-0: Stephen Strasburg Ks 10; Nats can’t solve Kyle Hendricks...

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Stephen Strasburg’s no-hit bid ended on back-to-back RBI singles in the Cubs’ half of the sixth, after an error put the leadoff runner on. NLDS Game 1: 3-0 Cubs over the Nationals.

MLB: NLDS-Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Washington Nationals’ starter Stephen Strasburg took a no-hit bid into the sixth, and still had it going through 5 23 innings in the NLDS opener with the Chicago Cubs in the nation’s capital.

An error by Anthony Rendon in the first at bat of the sixth gave the Cubs a baserunner, however, and Javier Baez, who’d reached on Rendon’s E:5, moved up a sac bunt by Cubs’ starter Kyle Hendricks, and came around to score on a two-out RBI single to right by Kris Bryant, who took second base on the throw home on the first hit off Strasburg, then scored on an RBI single to right by Anthony Rizzo that put the Cubbies up 2-0 in what ended up a 3-0 win.

Kyle Hendricks held the Nationals off the board through seven scoreless, limiting the Nationals to just two hits and three walks, and Chicago’s bullpen locked it down with Carl Edwards, Jr. and Wade Davis throwing scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth, respectively.

NLDS now 1-0 Cubs

HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:

Stephen Strasburg came out strong, bucking the Postseason trend this October, while striking out five of the first 10 batters he faced, holding the Cubs to one walk through three scoreless and hitless innings on just 31 pitches.

Kyle Hendricks needed 43 pitches to get through three scoreless, working around two hits and a hit-by-pitch to keep it 0-0.

Strasburg was up to 7 Ks from 13 batters after he added two strikeouts in a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth, and an eight-pitch fifth left him at 52 pitches total with eight strikeouts in five scoreless and hitless.

Anthony Rendon bobbled a grounder to third by Javier Baez and was charged with an error (E:5) that put the leadoff runner on in the top of the sixth. Kyle Hendrick bunted the runner over/gave up an out, giving the Cubbies’ a runner in scoring position for the first time, but Ben Zobrist sent a fly to center field for out No. 2... before Kris Bryant broke up Strasburg’s no-hit bid with an RBI single to right on an 0-2 fastball up in the zone, over the middle of the plate, 1-0.

Anthony Rizzo followed with the second hit of the game, lining an RBI single to right that scored Bryant from second after the Cubs’ third baseman took an extra base on the throw home by Bryce Harper on his own hit, 2-0.

Hendricks worked around a walk to Anthony Rendon in a 16-pitch sixth, with a quick, shutdown inning after the Cubs took the lead. He was up to 92 pitches total after six scoreless.

Stephen Strasburg’s night ended with a 16-pitch sixth inning, when the Nationals hit for him after Michael A. Taylor reached on an error by Cubs’ shortstop Addison Rusell.

• Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 81 P, 60 S, 6/5 GO/FO.

Hendricks worked around an error in a 14-pitch seventh inning that left him at 106 pitches total after seven scoreless. Still 2-0 Cubs.

• Kyle Hendricks’ Line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 106 P, 69 S, 12/2 GO/FO.

Ryan Madson took the mound for the Nats in the eighth and gave up a leadoff double by Jon Jay, who came around to score on a two-out RBI single by Anthony Rizzo, 3-0.

Carl Edwards, Jr. retired the Nationals in order in the eighth, and after a scoreless top of the ninth by Brandon Kintzler, Wade Davis closed out the NLDS opener. Final Score: 3-0 Cubs.

NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:

  • Washington clinched the NL East on September 10th, the earliest they’ve clinched any of their four division crowns.
  • The Nationals held first place in the division for all but four days this season, and they won the division by 20.0 games.
  • The Nationals are looking to snap Washington’s 84-year World Series drought since a D.C.-base team last made it to the World Series (1933), and the nation’s capital’s 93-year MLB World Championship drought since the lone World Series Championship in 1924.
  • This season, Dusty Baker (97-65), led his 10th team to 90+ wins, joining John McGraw (16), Joe McCarthy (15), Bobby Cox (15), Connie Mack (13), Joe Torre (12), Tony La Russa (12), Earl Weaver (11), Casey Stengel (11), Al Lopez (10), Walter Alston (10), and Sparky Anderson (10), as the only managers to accomplish that feat.
  • The Nationals are the only team in the majors that had four players with 20+ home runs and 85+ RBI on the season: Ryan Zimmerman (36 HR, 108 RBI), Bryce Harper (29 HR, 87 RBI), Anthony Rendon (25 HR, 100 RBI), and Daniel Murphy (23 HR, 93 RBI).
  • Sean Doolittle went 21-for-22 in save opportunities after he was acquired from Oakland with a 2.40 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, eight walks, 31 Ks and a .204 BAA, and he did not pitch a losing effort, with the Nationals 30-0 in games he appeared in after the trade from the A’s.

NLDS now 1-0 Cubs