They weren’t even supposed to be here today... but the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs put on a show in the make-up game for the postponed series finale from last Sunday, battling to a 3-3 tie after nine and going to extra innings in the nation’s capital before Javier Baez’s bunt single with runners on first and third brought in the eventual winning run, 4-3.
Ross vs the Cubs: Before suffering a torn UCL in his right elbow in July of 2017, Joe Ross had faced the Cubs three times over his first three major league seasons, putting up a 3.44 ERA, five walks, 20 Ks, and a .232/.293/.333 line against in 18 1⁄3 IP.
Ross, 25, spent a year-plus out of the rotation as he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery, and made six rehab starts between the Nationals’ Gulf Coast, High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A affiliates, posting a 2.39 ERA, eight walks, and 19 Ks in 26 1⁄3 IP before he returned to the big leagues last Friday.
Ross’s first start in the majors in over a year was cut short by rain after just five outs, but he got another shot at the Cubs in this afternoon’s makeup game for the finale of the series in D.C. last weekend, which was rained out as well.
Have we mentioned that Victor Robles is starting in CF today? Because Victor Robles is starting in CF today. pic.twitter.com/pYTqaQFbDR— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 13, 2018
After tossing three scoreless on 38 pitches, Ross gave up a leadoff single by Kris Bryant and an RBI double by Javier Baez in the first two at bats of the fourth as the Cubs tied it up at 1-1 after a Spencer Kieboom home run in the third gave the Nationals an early lead. Baez came in on an RBI single by Victor Caratini in the next at bat, 2-1 Cubbies.
A scoreless, 11-pitch fifth ended Ross’s outing when the Nationals hit for him with a runner on in the bottom of the inning.
Joe Ross’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 Ks, 74 P, 47 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
Montgomery vs the Nationals: In seven appearances (six starts) and 31 2⁄3 IP in the second-half before his start against the Nationals today in the nation’s capital, Cubs’ southpaw Mike Montgomery was (1-2) with a 3.69 ERA and a .317/.380/.381 line against.
Montgomery tossed a scoreless inning of relief against Washington last month in Chicago’s Wrigley Field in his second career appearance vs the Nationals.
This afternoon, the lefty got a shot at starting against the Nats for the first time and tossed two scoreless to start, but Spencer Kieboom hit a 91 mph 1-1 fastball out to center field for his second home run of the season and a 1-0 lead with one out in the third.
Montgomery kept the Nationals there as the Cubs jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth, but a leadoff single by Adrian Sanchez in the Nationals’ half of the fifth ended things for the left-hander...
Mike Montgomery’s Line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 62 P, 37 S, 4/3 GO/FO.
Looks like the Tooth Fairy brought Spencer another home run. pic.twitter.com/lxly5DFktE— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 13, 2018
More for ❤️ for : Ian Happ walked with one down in the Cubs’ third, and tried to steal second with Kris Bryant at the plate one out later, which ... (we’ll let Keith Law take this one), and he got thrown out by Nationals’ catcher Spencer Kieboom when he appeared to beat the throw but came off the bag as he slid past it and was tagged by Adrian Sanchez. It was the 11th runner caught by Kieboom in 24 attempts (46% CS%). And Kieboom stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the third and gave the Nats a 1-0 lead with a solo home run, his second blast of the week and of the season.
BULLPEN ACTION: Jesse Chavez took over for the Cubs with a runner on and no one out in the bottom of the fifth, and retired Spencer Kieboom, but with the runner (Adrian Sanchez) on the move, Andrew Stevenson lined a one-out single to center in the next at bat to set the Nationals’ rookie outfielder, Victor Robles, up with a first-and-third, RBI opportunity and Robles got a fly ball deep enough to center to bring in the tying run, 2-2.
Tim Collins got the first out of the sixth, then Jimmy Cordero took over against Javier Baez, and gave up a solo shot to right on a center-cut 98 mph 1-0 fastball. Baez’s 31st, 3-2 Cubs.
Jorge De La Rosa worked around a single by Juan Soto and a walk to Ryan Zimmerman for a scoreless sixth.
Cordero returned to the mound in the top of the seventh and retired the Cubs in order in a quick, eight-pitch frame.
Carl Edwards, Jr. gave up a two-out walk to Victor Robles in the Nats’ half of the seventh, and Robles promptly stole second, with no one covering the bag, before scoring to tie it when Trea Turner doubled to left in the next at bat, 3-3.
Matt Grace gave up a leadoff single by Anthony Rizzo in the top of the eighth innning, and Kris Bryant got a weak pop over the infield for a second consecutive hit, putting two on in front of Daniel Murphy, whose swinging bunt advanced the runners to second and third for pinch hitter Willson Contreras, after an intentional walk to Javier Baez loaded the bases.
Davey Martinez countered with Greg Holland, who threw a 2-2 fastball by the Cubs’ catcher to get the second out.
Ben Zobrist fell behind 0-2 in the next at bat, and K’d swinging over the third straight slider Holland threw him to end the threat.
Brian Deunsing worked around a single by Wilmer Difo for a scoreless eighth, still 3-3.
Albert Almora, Jr. reached on an error by Trea Turner with one down in the Cubs’ half of the ninth, but Sean Doolittle caught a popped up bunt by Terrance Gore in the next at bat and tossed to first to double up the runner and end a scoreless frame.
Trea Turner reached base on a swinging third strike/passed ball after Pedro Strop retired the first two batters in the Nats’ ninth, giving Bryce Harper an opportunity to end it, but a pop to left ended the inning and sent it to extras...
Doolittle came back out for the top of the tenth and gave up a one-out double to left by Kris Bryant before Daniel Murphy reached on an error by Wilmer Difo, who tried to backhand a grounder up the middle and had it bounce off the heel of his glove. Bryant took third on the error and scored on a bunt by Javier Baez, who pushed one toward first Ryan Zimmerman couldn’t handle, 4-3.
Koda Glover took over for Doolittle with two on and one out and walked Willson Conteras to load the bases for Pedro Strop, who grounded into an inning-ending 5-2-3 DP.
Strop injured something on the run to first, so Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon had to go to the pen again for lefty Randy Rosario, who retired the Nats in order to end it.
Final Score: 4-3 Cubs
Nationals now 74-73