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Washington Nationals blow late lead in ninth, drop finale to Chicago Cubs, 5-4

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Washington’s Nationals took a 4-2 lead into the ninth, but Blake Treinen gave up three runs and the Chicago Cubs took the series finale, 5-4.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Joe Ross gave up a run in the first, then held the Chicago Cubs off the board until the top of the seventh, when Jeimer Candelario broke up a 1-1 tie with his first major league home run, taking an 0-1 sinker to center field for a solo shot that put the visiting team up 2-1 in the series finale in the Nationals Park.

Cubs’ lefty Jon Lester gave up one in the first as well, and held the Nationals scoreless after that, completing six innings on the mound over which he allowed just three hits.

Carl Edwards, Jr. took over in the bottom of the seventh, and gave up a leadoff walk to Daniel Murphy, and a two-run home run to left by Anthony Rendon, who’s 16th of the season put the Nationals on top, 3-2.

Brian Goodwin hit a bases-loaded, RBI single to center to add to the Nats’ lead, 4-2.

Oliver Perez and Joe Blanton handled the eighth, but Blake Treinen gave up three runs in the ninth and the Nationals lost another one in the bullpen. 5-4 final.

Cubs earn a split of the four-game set in D.C.

Nationals now 47-32

HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:

Anthony Rizzo hit a two-out double into the right field corner in the top of the first, after Joe Ross struck out the first two Cubs he faced, and Willson Contreras followed with an RBI single to left that made it 1-0, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double for the third out of the frame.

Trea Turner walked, and stole second one out later with Bryce Harper up, but he got thrown out at third on an attempted delayed steal on ball four to Harper, which hurt a little more when Ryan Zimmerman hit what would have been a two-out double to right in the next at bat. 1-1 instead.

Joe Ross retired six straight Cubs’ batters in the second and third, then hit a double to right to start the Nationals’ half of the third inning, taking third base on a single to left by Trea Turner, but they were both stranded three outs later as Ryan Raburn and Bryce Harper went down swinging and Ryan Zimmerman grounded out to third.

Ross was up to nine-straight set down when he came out for the top of the fifth, but he walked Addison Russell to start the inning, and a wild pitch put a runner in scoring position for the first time since the first, but Russell was stranded there three outs later, and it was still tied at 1-1 after four.

Ian Happ and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back, one-out single in the Cubs’ half of the sixth inning, but Willson Contreras send a grounder to first for the second out of the frame, and a fly to right ended the threat.

Dusty Baker got ejected for the first time as the Nationals’ manager in the bottom of the sixth, arguing with first base ump David Rackley, who declined to speak up on what appeared to be a foul tip that was called strike three on Ryan Raburn.

Jeimer Candelario led off the seventh with a solo shot to center, taking an 0-1 sinker for a ride and putting the Cubs up, 2-1 with his first major league home run. Ross’s day ended with a two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, on his 92nd pitch... Nats’ left-hander Matt Grace finished off the frame.

• Joe Ross’s Line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 92 P, 62 S, 7/2 GO/FO.

Daniel Murphy walked to start the Nationals’ half of the seventh inning, and Anthony Rendon battled Cubs’ right-hander Carl Edwards, Jr. for eight pitches, working the count full before launching a two-run home run to left field that put the Nationals up, 3-2. Rendon’s 16th.

Michael A. Taylor walked, ending Carl Edwards, Jr.’s outing, Adam Lind singled off new pitcher, Brian Duensing, who was replaced by Pedro Strop, and Trea Turner took a hit-by-pitch that loaded them up in front of pinch hitter Brian Goodwin, who hit an RBI grounder back up the middle to add to the Nationals’ lead, 4-2.

Oliver Perez and Joe Blanton combined for a quick, scoreless, top of the eighth.

Blake Treinen came on in the ninth, and hit Jeimer Candelario with one down, gave up a two-out single by Javier Baez, and an RBI single by Tommy La Stella, 4-3, and a two-run double by Jon Jay, 5-4. That’s how it ended...

NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:

  • Washington started the day with a 42-41 advantage in the all-time series with the Chicago Cubs after taking two of the first three in D.C.
  • Daniel Murphy started the day with a 12-game hitting streak over which he’s gone 16 for 47 (.340 AVG) with six doubles, a triple and three home runs over the course of his streak.
  • In today’s Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Murphy is hitting .378 with ten doubles, a triple, five home runs, nine walks and 22 runs scored... in his last 27 games.
  • Washington’s offense started the day leading the NL in AVG (.279), OBP (.344), SLG (.478), home runs (120), hits (769), extra-base hits (293), runs scored (442), and RBIs (430).
  • Nationals’ pitchers started the day leading the majors in Ks (505), and they ranked second in the NL in WHIP (1.20) and opponents’ batting average (.236).
  • Michael A. Taylor has hit five home runs in his last 12 games, and has ten extra-base hits in the last 12.
  • In a bonus Nats-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Heading into today’s game, Taylor has a .296 AVG, 16 doubles, two triples, 11 HRs, nine walks, nine stolen bases and 34 runs scored... since April 29th.

Nationals now 47-32