The boys kept fighting. Washington’s Nationals fell behind 4-0 in the series finale with the Chicago Cubs, and went down 6-1 after they got on the board, but a three-run homer by Anthony Rendon in the sixth made it 6-4, and Howie Kendrick added a solo homer in the seventh, 6-5.
That was as close as they got, however, as the Cubs held on for the one-run win and took two of three in D.C.
Hellboy vs the Cubs: Jeremy Hellickson took the mound tonight winless (0-2) in his last five outings with an 8.06 ERA, nine walks, 23 Ks, and a rough .323/.380/.596 line against in 22 1⁄3 IP over that stretch.
In seven starts overall on the season, the 32-year-old right-hander was (2-2) with a 5.82 ERA, 17 walks, 29 Ks, and a .286/.363/.493 line against in 34 innings.
Hellickson did not get off to a strong start, issuing back-to-back-to-back walks that loaded the bases with no one out in the top of the first, and a run scored on a Javier Báez ground ball to third in the fourth at bat, 1-0. A hit-by-pitch on Willson Contreras loaded them back up, but Daniel Descalso grounded into an inning-ending 5-6-3 DP.
Back-to-back hits, a single by Jason Heyward and double by Albert Almora started the top of the second, and a one-out sac fly gave the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
Hellickson fell behind 2-0 on Anthony Rizzo in the first at bat of the third, and gave up a solo home run to left on a 2-2 fastball that missed its target by half a plate, 3-0 Cubs. Rizzo’s 11th.
Hellickson was up to 64 pitches after three, and he hit for himself in the bottom of the third, but was lifted before the fourth...
Jeremy Hellickson’s Line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 64 P, 30 S, 3/1 GO/FO.
Hendricks vs the Nationals: Cubs’ righty Kyle Hendricks bounced back from a rough, five-inning outing against the D-Backs which saw him give up 10 hits and seven earned runs, with three strong starts before tonight’s, over which he gave up 12 hits in 25 innings, with just two runs, one earned, allowed over that stretch (0.38 ERA), walking one and striking out 17 while holding opposing hitters to a .141/.161/.188 line.
Hendricks worked around a two-out walk in the fourth tonight, completing four scoreless and hitless innings to start the game, but after an Anthony Rendon walk in the fourth got the Nationals their first baserunner, and a leadoff single by Kurt Suzuki in the fifth ended Hendricks’ nascent no-hit bid, before the catcher scored to end the shutout on a ground ball out off Brian Dozier’s bat, 4-1.
It was 6-1 Cubs after five and a half, but Trea Turner walked with one down and Adam Eaton singled in the next at bat, with an error on the play putting both players in scoring position for Anthony Rendon, who hit an 0-1 sinker out to center for a three-run blast that made it a 6-4 game.
Juan Soto followed with a one-out double, and Gerardo Parra’s two-out, two-base hit ended Hendricks’ outing...
Kyle Hendricks’ Line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 83 P, 52 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
ESPN SNB: You might remember the last time the Nationals were on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. It was against the Cubs that time too, but in Chicago, where David Bote stepped up and hit a walk-off grand slam in Wrigley Field.
Overall, before tonight, the Nationals had a 10-10 record on ESPN’s national broadcast since 2005.
BULLPEN ACTION: Kyle McGowin took over on the mound for the Nationals in the fourth inning and gave up a leadoff double by Albert Almora, who took third one out later on a passed ball, and scored on a sac fly by Kyle Schwarber to make it a 4-0 Cubs’ lead.
McGowin retired the Cubs in order in the top of the fifth inning, but a leadoff single by Jason Heyward, two wild pitches, and a safety squeeze by the opposing pitcher, Kyle Hendricks, in the sixth, gave the Cubs a 5-1 lead after the Nats got on the board in the bottom of the fifth.
A pop to short right off Kris Bryant’s bat brought in run No. 6 for the Cubs, 6-1.
Brandon Kintzler took over for the Cubs with runners on second and third and two outs in a 6-4 game in Nationals Park, and got the final out of the inning.
Wander Suero threw a quick, 16-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game.
Kintlzer came back out in the seventh, and served up a sinker that Howie Kendrick crushed for a solo home run to left that made it a 6-5 game in the Cubs’ favor. Kintzler got two outs before Xavier Cedeño took over on the mound for Chicago and gave up a single by Adam Eaton, so Cubbies’ skipper Joe Maddon went to the pen again.
Steve Cishek and got out No. 3 on a hard-hit liner to short. 6-5 Cubs after seven.
Suero returned to the mound in the top of the eighth and gave up one and two-out singles, but both runners were stranded when Kris Bryant lined out to end the threat.
Cishek gave up a two-out single by Gerardo Parra in the bottom of the eighth, but pinch hitter Adrían Sánchez K’d swinging to end threat.
Matt Grace got the first out of the Cubs’ ninth, and Kyle Barraclough took over at that point and worked around a two-out walk to keep it a one-run game.
Cishek returned to the mound in the ninth and retired the side in order to end it. 6-5 Cubs.
Nationals now 19-27