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Washington Nationals win second straight in Wrigley Field, 7-2 over Chicago Cubs

Washington’s Nationals made it four in a row overall and two straight over the Cubs with a 7-2 win in Chicago’s Wrigley Field this afternoon.

Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With one in the first, on a sac fly by Anthony Rendon, four in the third on an RBI groundout by Juan Soto, RBI single by Howie Kendrick, and a two-run hit by Yan Gomes, Washington’s Nationals built up a 5-0 lead on the Chicago Cubs, and they added a run in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Adam Eaton, after the home team put two runs on the board, 6-2.

The Nationals scored another in the ninth on an RBI double by Kendrick, 7-2.

Nats’ starter Joe Ross was out after just 4 13 innings on the mound in Wrigley Field, but the Nationals’ bullpen got through the rest of the game for the second straight win on the road on the North Side of Chicago.

Ross vs the Cubs: August has been the Month of Ross! In four starts heading into today’s game against the Cubs in Wrigley Field, the Nationals’ 26-year-old right-hander was (3-0) with a 0.42 ERA, nine walks, 13 Ks, and a .164/.256/.219 line against in 21 13 IP.

After a tough start in the bullpen in his first full year back following Tommy John, and a return to the minors to get stretched back out to start, skipper Davey Martinez said last week he’s finally seeing Ross throw like the pitcher he was before the surgery.

“He’s been through a lot,” Martinez told reporters. “And now he feels good, now he feels confident, now he’s throwing up 90-100 pitches plus, so you’re seeing Joe come back and be that pitcher that he was before he got hurt, and it’s really nice.”

Ross tossed two scoreless to start the afternoon, and took the mound in the third with a 5-0 lead, but gave up a leadoff single by Victor Caratini, a two-out walk to Jayson Heyward, and a two-out RBI single to left field by Nick Castellanos, 5-1.

A leadoff walk (to Anthony Rizzo) and ground-rule double (by Javier Báez) on a fly to right field that landed inside the line and bounced into the stands, put two runners on with no outs in the Cubs’ fourth, but Ross got swinging Ks from Kyle Schwarber and Caratini for the first two outs of the frame, before a walk to Tony Kemp loaded the bases.

Ian Happ got a pinch hit opportunity with a chance to tie the game, and he worked the count full in an eight-pitch at bat, before taking a called strike three on a sinker outside, which wasn’t a strike.

Ross was nibbling in the fifth, after slowing down considerably when runners got on in the fourth, and he gave up a one-out single and walk that put two on in front of another pinch hitter, Jonathan Lucroy, who hit an RBI, ground-rule double to left to get another run in, 5-2.

That was it for Ross...

Joe Ross’s Line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 88 P, 48 S, 6/0 GO/FO.

Quintana vs the Nationals: Cubs’ left-hander José Quintana took the mound this afternoon in Wrigley Field unbeaten in his last nine outings (7-0) with a 2.96 ERA, seven walks, 57 Ks, and a .243/.263/.386 line against in 54 23 IP over that stretch, which followed a nine-start winless streak, over which the southpaw was (0-6) with a 5.40 ERA, 18 walks, 34 Ks, and a .283/.340/.466 line against in 48 13 IP.

The Cubs’ southpaw was taking on a Nationals’ roster today that had put up a combined .282/.356/.474 line against lefties this season, good for 2nd/1st/2nd among NL teams...

...and he fell behind 1-0 early, with Trea Turner reaching on an infield single, moving up on a sac bunt attempt/single by Adam Eaton, taking third on the play when Eaton beat the throw from Kris Bryant to first base, and Anthony Rizzo threw one away trying to back pick Turner at second.

Anthony Rendon hit a sac fly to left in the next at bat and the Nationals were on the board in the first, 1-0.

Turner singled again and Eaton reached when a chopper toward first got by Quintana, and he beat the covering pitcher to the bag. Rendon walked this time, loading the bases, and it was 2-0 when Turner scored as Juan Soto hustled to first base, avoiding a double play on a ground ball to second.

Howie Kendrick drove Eaton in with an RBI single to left, 3-0, and two more scored on a bases-loaded, two-out single to center by Yan Gomes and the Nats were up 5-0 after 33-pitch top of the third that left Quintana at 62 pitches after three.

Quintana worked around a two-out single in the fourth, and the Cubs hit for him with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning...

José Quintana’s Line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 79 P, 44 S, 6/3 GO/FO.

Turn-On: With a single in the final of his five at bats on Friday, Trea Turner extended his on-base streak to 30-straight games, over which the 26-year-old infielder had gone 43 for 129 (.333/.393/.535) with six doubles, a triple, six HRs, and 13 BBs in 145 plate appearances.

With an infield single in his first at bat this afternoon, Turner extended his streak to 31 in-a-row in which he’s reached base.

BULLPEN ACTION: Tyler Chatwood took over on the mound for the Cubs in the top of the fifth inning, and retired the Nationals in order to keep it a four-run game, 5-1.

Wander Suero took over for Joe Ross with runners on second and third and one out in the fifth, after the Cubs scored a run to make it a 5-2 game, and the right-hander struck Javier Báez out with a 3-2 cutter, and popped Kyle Schwarber up to end the threat.

Chatwood came back out in the top of the sixth and gave up a leadoff single by Yan Gomes, who was forced out at second on a liner to left that Kyle Schwarber trapped, before making a strong throw to second for the out. Trea Turner walked in the next at bat, so Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon went the pen for lefty Kyle Ryan vs Adam Eaton.

Parra and Turner pulled off a double steal, though a replay was needed to get the call right after Parra was initially called out at third, and Eaton hit a sharp grounder to second for an RBI groundout that made it a 6-2 game.

Tanner Rainey worked around back-to-back two-outs walk to the Cubs’ reliever Kyle Ryan and Jason Heyward for a scoreless bottom of the sixth, with Ryan thrown out at third base on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning.

Steve Cizek worked around a walk and hit-by-pitch for a scoreless top of the seventh.

Hunter Strickland struck out the side in a 21-pitch bottom of the seventh.

Rowan Wick walked Trea Turner with one out in the top of the eighth, but he stranded Turner at second two outs later to keep it a four-run game.

Fernando Rodney took over for the Nationals in the bottom of the eighth, and retired the side in order in a 12-pitch frame.

Juan Soto walked and scored on an RBI double by Howie Kendrick off Pedro Strop in the top of the ninth, 7-2.

Daniel Hudson got the ninth for the Nationals and worked around a two-out double to left by Jason Heyward to end it.


Final Score: 7-2 Nationals

Nationals now 72-57