Chicago Cubs’ third baseman Kris Bryant hit three homers in three innings in the seventh, eighth, and ninth, and the visiting club hit six homers total in what ended up being a 14-6 win over the Washington Nationals in the series opener in the nation’s capital.
Scherzer vs Chicago: Max Scherzer snapped a four-start winless streak, over which he was (0-2) with the Nationals 0-5 in his outings, with a strong showing on the mound against the Dodgers last weekend in LA in which he gave up five hits, two walks, and two runs in seven innings.
That turn in the rotation left him (2-4) after eight starts this season, with a 3.64 ERA, 10 walks, 79 Ks, and a .252/.295/.400 line against in 59 1⁄3 IP.
Scherzer gave up a run early tonight, when a four-pitch, leadoff walk to Kyle Schwarber and two-out RBI double by Javier Báez on a 2-1 slider inside put the Cubs up 1-0 in the first in the series opener in D.C.
Jason Heyward singled with one down in the top of the second, and he scored on a two-run home run to left by Albert Almora, who hit an 0-2 changeup up in the zone inside out to left field to make it a 3-0 game.
Scherzer held the Cubs there through five innings, as the Nationals rallied to make it a one-run game with a two-run blast by Anthony Rendon in the third, but he was up to 94 pitches overall at that point, and 112 after he worked around a leadoff walk in the sixth in what was his final inning of work on the night.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 112 P, 74 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
Hamels vs Washington: Cubs’ lefty Cole Hamels didn’t receive a decision in any of his last four starts before tonight’s against the Nationals (3.42 ERA, 14 BB, 26 Ks, .205/.323/.361 line against in 23 2⁄3 IP), after the southpaw won three of his first four starts this season (2.77 ERA, 3 BB, 23 Ks, .202/.222/.319 line against in 26 IP in those outings).
Hamels was coming off a strong seven-inning outing against the Milwaukee Brewers in the Windy City, in which he gave up just three hits, three walks, and one run in a 2-1 win.
Hamels tossed two scoreless tonight, as the Cubs jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but he hit the leadoff man in the third, putting Victor Robles on, and Anthony Rendon followed with a 2-run home run on a 94 MPH 0-1 fastball, 3-2 game. Rendon’s 7th.
After working his way out of a second-and-third, no-out jam in a 14-pitch fourth, Hamels was up to 74 pitches overall, and a two-out single and walk in the fifth pushed him up to 90 total pitches. Brian Dozier sent a dribbler toward third base on pitch No. 95, and beat Kris Bryant’s throw to first by a half-step, loading the bases for Michael A. Taylor, who got up 3-1, fouled a pitch off, 3-2, and K’d swinging to end the threat, 101 pitches for Hamels.
Cole Hamels’ Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 101 P, 60 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
Turn, Turn, Turner: Trea Turner missed 38 games while he recovered from the broken right index finger he suffered when he was hit by a pitch while squaring to bunt in an April 2nd game in the nation’s capital.
Turner was 5 for 14 (.357 AVG) with a double, two homers, four steals, and four runs scored before the injury, and he came out swinging in his return to the lineup, singling to center on a 1-0 fastball from Cole Hamels. 6 for 15 (400 AVG).
Turner singled again in the sixth, 2 for 4 on the night, and stole his first base since returning to put himself in scoring position with one down (though he was stranded). He ended the night 2 for 5.
BULLPEN ACTION: Kyle Ryan took over on the mound for the Cubs in the home-half of the sixth and gave up a one-out single by Trea Turner and a walk to Adam Eaton before he was lifted in favor of Brad Brach vs Anthony Rendon, but Rendon hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP.
Justin Miller gave up a leadoff single by Addison Russell and a one-out, two-run home run to left by Kris Bryant that put the Cubs up by three again, 5-2. Bryant’s ninth.
Miller left the hill after a two-out walk with an apparent injury (joining Victor Robles, who left the game in the fourth after the hit-by-pitch on his left wrist).
Joe Ross took over on the mound in the top of the seventh, with a runner on and two out and gave up a single up the middle by Willson Contreras that sent Javier Báez around to third. Ross hit pinch hitter Victor Caratini, loading the bases, but a fly to right off of Jason Heyward’s bat ended the threat.
Brandon Kintzler gave up a one-out double by Juan Soto and an RBI single by Kurt Suzuki in the home-half of the seventh, 5-3 Cubbies, and Brian Dozier lined a single to left field for a third consecutive hit. Michael A. Taylor hit a fly to center that advanced both runners and ended Kintzler’s outing...
Gerardo Parra came on as a pinch hitter, and a balk by new pitcher Carl Edwards, Jr. forced in a run, 5-4 Cubs, and a wild pitch gave Brian Dozier a chance to score — but it bounced off the Cubs’ catcher, and right back to the pitcher, and Edwards, Jr. got the third out of the frame when Dozier went out of the basepath trying to avoid a tag. That was odd.
Kyle Barraclough gave up a leadoff single and back-to-back, one-out home runs in the top of the eighth as the Cubs went up 8-4 with both Kyle Schwarber (on pitch No. 13 of his at bat) and Kris Bryant taking the reliever deep.
Dan Jennings came on for Barraclough and hit a batter, walked a batter, and gave up a base-loading single by Willson Contreras before an infield single and throwing error combo on a Mark Zagunis grounder brought in the Cubs’ ninth and tenth runs of the game, 10-4 good buddy.
Matt Grace gave up Kris Bryant’s third home run in three innings in the ninth, 12-4 Cubbies, and 14-4 when Willson Contreras got in on the homering with a two-run blast of his own.
Brian Dozier drove in two runs in the ninth to make it respectable, 14-6 Cubs final.
Nationals now 18-26