Matt Wieters’ first grand slam since 2013, and the third grand slam of his career, put the Washington Nationals up 8-4 in the eighth inning this afternoon in Wrigley Field, and the Nats took the series finale and season series from the Chicago Cubs with a 9-4 win.
Nationals’ rookie Erick Fedde held Chicago to two runs through five innings, but Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras, who’d already homered in the fourth, got to Washington’s 24-year-old right-hander again in the sixth, sending his 21st HR of 2017 out to left in front of Kyle Schwarber, who followed with the second of back-to-back HRs that put the home team up 4-1 after six.
Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back doubles in the Nationals’ seventh, however, with Murphy scoring on Rendon’s to make it 4-2, and Rendon scored on a sac fly by Wieters, 4-3 six and a half.
With the Cubs still up by a run after seven, Rendon took a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch to force in the tying run in the eighth, 4-4, and Wieters followed with the grand slam on a first-pitch curve from Carl Edwards, Jr. that cleared the ivy-covered brick wall in center field, 9-4 Nationals.
With the win, the Nats took the three-game set in Chicago, 2-1, and the season series with the Cubs, 4-3.
Nationals now 65-44
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Erick Fedde retired the first five batters he faced this afternoon in Wrigley Field, but the Cubs connected for back-to-back-to-back two-out singles in the home-half of the second, with Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, and Javier Baez collecting hits and Happ scoring the first run on Baez’s grounder to center, 1-0.
• Wilmer Difo tripled on a liner to center to start the third and scored one out later on a low liner to left by Brian Goodwin that Kyle Schwarber couldn’t reach. Goodwin’s hit, ruled an opposite field single, tied it up, 1-1.
• Willson Contreras continued to swing a hot bat, hitting his second home run of the series, 20th HR of the season, and ninth since the All-Star Break out to left on a 1-2 change from Fedde that almost left the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. 2-1 Cubs after four.
#Willypalooza pic.twitter.com/uLGThTdB5i— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 6, 2017
• Fedde worked around a one-out walk in the Cubs’ fifth, throwing a 1-2 sinker on the outside edge to Anthony Rizzo, who did what the righty wanted him to and sent an inning-ending grounder toward third to start a 5-6-3 DP.
• Lester was rolling, however, retiring 11 of 12 after Goodwin’s sac fly tied it at 1-1 in the third, and completing six innings on 84 pitches after retiring the Nats in order in the top of the sixth.
• Willson Contreras did it again in the sixth, taking a 94 mph 0-1 sinker out to left for a no-doubter of a homer that put the Cubs up 3-1. Contreras’s second of the game, third of the series and 21st on the season. Kyle Schwarber followed with an opposite field blast to left on a 2-2 curve, 4-1. Schwarber’s 18th.
.@WContreras40 is on another LEVEL. #AnotherOne pic.twitter.com/OcBZn1bxDH— MLB (@MLB) August 6, 2017
• Fedde was done for the day after a “double” by Jason Heyward on a grounder to second that Daniel Murphy probably should have reached, and intentional walk to Javier Baez.
• Oliver Perez took over and picked Heyward off second base (tagged in a rundown), and got Jon Lester looking to end the sixth.
• Erick Fedde’s Line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 7 Ks, 3 HRs, 99 P, 64 S, 7/0 GO/FO.
• Daniel Murphy lined a leadoff double into the left-center gap to start the seventh with his 35th double of 2017, and he scored on a double to left by Anthony Rendon that made it 4-2 Cubs. Murphy’s 35th. Rendon’s 26th.
Rendon took third on an error by Kris Bryant on the play, and scored on a sac fly to center by Matt Wieters when Jon Jay made a daring catch in front of the ivy to take away an extra base hit, 4-3.
• Mike Montgomery took over for Lester with a runner on and two out in the seventh and got the final out of the frame.
• Jon Lester’s Line: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 112 P, 70 S, 4/4 GO/FO.
• Brandon Kintzler worked around a two-out single in a 20-pitch seventh.
• Montgomery came back out for the eighth, but was replaced on the mound by Carl Edwards, Jr. after a one-out infield single by Bryce Harper.
Ryan Zimmerman doubled to center field, sending Harper around to third base, and after Daniel Murphy was walked intentionally, Edwards, Jr. hit Anthony Rendon on the elbow to force in a run, 4-4. Matt Wieters stepped in next and hit a first-pitch curve out to center, over the ivy-covered brick walls for a grand slam, 8-4 Nationals.
SEE. YOU. LATER!— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 6, 2017
GRAND SLAM, MATT WIETERS! pic.twitter.com/mVDwg5fZYW
• Ryan Madson worked around a two-out double in a scoreless bottom of the eighth, and Brian Goodwin hit a leadoff homer to right in the ninth, 9-4. Goody’s 12th.
Brian Goodwin (16) off RHP Koji Uehara (7) - 102.6 mph, 23 degrees (398 ft Home Run)— MLBBarrelAlert (@MLBBarrelAlert) August 6, 2017
87.1 mph Four-Seamer#Nationals @ #Cubs (T9) pic.twitter.com/B7pSj6KeIS
• Sean Doolittle got the ball in the ninth and retired the side in order.
Final Score: 9-4 Nationals.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- After splitting the first six games this season, Washington and Chicago were tied at 43-43 in the all-time series between the two teams, and the Nationals had a shot at taking the season series from the Cubs for the first time in three years.
- After splitting the first two this weekend, Washington was (35-22) on the road this season, good for the second-best road record in the NL and third-best in the majors.
- Cubs’ starter Jon Lester began the afternoon ranked seventh in wins (154) and 11th in starts (339), innings (2,137 2⁄3 IP) and strikeouts (2,000), among active starters in the majors.
- Bryce Harper’s HR off John Lackey on Saturday was his 28th of the season, his 12th in the first inning this season and his 14th in a two-strike count.
- Daniel Murphy went 4 for 8 (with two homers) in the first two games in Wrigley Field this weekend, leaving him 34 for 89 (.382 AVG) in the friendly confines in his career, and that doesn’t count his 6 for 10 showing against the Cubs in the postseason in 2015.
- In today’s Chicago-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: The Cubs led the N.L. and were tied for second in the majors with Texas (50), behind only the Houston (54)... in home runs hit since July 1st.
- Howie Kendrick got the start in left this afternoon. Heading into play today, the IF/OF was 10 for 21 (.476 AVG) since joining the Nationals on July 29th.
- Washington’s offense started the series finale in Chicago leading the National League in SLG (.470), OPS (.809), HRs (163), and extra-base hits (399), and ranked second in the NL in AVG (.274), hits (1,032), runs (589), and OBP (.338).
Nationals now 65-44