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Washington Nationals drop 6-3 decision to Chicago Cubs; Rubber match on Sunday in D.C.

A big fourth inning for the Cubs was the difference tonight as the visitors evened things up in the three-game set in Nationals Park.

Chicago Cubs v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

It was tied at 1-1 in the fourth inning tonight in Nationals Park when the Chicago Cubs put together four hits, one a two-run home run, and scored four runs total to go up 5-1 on Joe Ross and the Nats in what ended up a 6-1 win for the visiting team in Washington, D.C.

David Bote doubled to start things off in the Cubs’ fourth, and scored on an RBI single by Sergio Alcantara, who came in on a double by Andrew Romine, 3-1.

Romine scored, one out later, on the homer, by Rafael Ortega, 5-1, and the Cubs added one in the seventh to even things up after the Nationals took the series opener last night.

Final Score: 6-3 Cubs

Rubber match tomorrow at 1:05 PM ET in the nation’s capital...

Chicago Cubs v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Ross vs CHI: Returning to the mound after some time on the IL with inflammation in his right elbow, Joe Ross tossed five scoreless against the Phillies last time out before tonight, giving up three hits and two walks in what ended up a 6-5 loss in which he received no decision.

Ross’s manager, Davey Martinez, said he pulled the righty after five innings when he saw signs the 28-year-old was tiring.

“He threw the ball well,” Martinez said. “I could see his arm slot starting to drop just a tad, and like I said, we just got him back, and I want to be extra careful with him.”

Ross faced the Cubs he was lined up against tonight earlier this season in Chicago, giving up five hits and four runs (two earned) in just 3 23 IP over which he threw 78 pitches.

Tonight in the nation’s capital, Ross and the Nationals fell behind early when Juan Soto got fooled by a two-out line drive to right off of Patrick Wisdom’s bat which soared over Soto, off the top of his glove, and to the wall in right, allowing a runner on second (Rafael Ortega) to score for a 1-0 lead early in Nationals Park.

With the score tied at 1-1 after three, David Bote doubled to left to start the fourth, took third base on a groundout, and scored on an RBI single by Sergio Alcantara, who took second on an ill-advised throw home by Yadiel Hernández on the play, and scored on another double to left, this one by Andrew Romine, 3-1 Cubs, and 5-1 on a two-out, two-run home run off of Rafael Ortega’s bat.

Ian Happ walked and Patrick Wisdom singled to start the fifth, but Ross got the first out of the inning on a grounder to third before Davey Martinez came out and made a call to the bullpen, ending the starter’s outing...

Joe Ross’s Line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 84 P, 54 S, 6/3 GO/FO.

Hendricks vs WSH: Kyle Hendricks took the mound tonight unbeaten in his last 14 starts, over which the 31-year-old right-hander was (10-0) with the Cubs 11-3 in his outings.

Over that unbeaten stretch, Hendricks had a 2.90 ERA, 15 walks, 61 Ks, and a .258/.293/.429 line against in 87 IP, though he was coming off a no-decision in Chicago which saw him give up nine hits, two walks, and five earned runs in 4 13 IP on the mound in Wrigley Field.

Tonight in Nationals Park, Hendricks took the mound with a 1-0 lead, and issued a one-out walk to Juan Soto, then gave up a two-out RBI double to left field off of Yadiel Hernández’s bat, 1-1 after one.

Chicago Cubs v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Hendricks held the Nationals there through three, and took the mound in the fourth with a 5-1 lead and worked around a hit-by-pitch in a seven-pitch frame which left him at 63 total after four.

He was up to 87 pitches after working around a single and an ROE in the fifth, and retiring the order in the sixth, and he came back out for the bottom of the seventh and retired the side in order again, in a 13-pitch frame that left him at 100 even on the night.

Kyle Hendricks’ Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 100 P, 71 S, 15/0 GO/FO.

Did You Know Anthony Rendon Juan Soto’s Walked More Than He’s K’d In College This Season?: Juan Soto started the night with 71 walks vs 60 Ks in 395 PAs on the season, as the MASN crew noted, and walked the first time up against Cubs’ starter Kyle Hendricks, getting him to 300 career walks versus 319 strikeouts as he creeps closer to having more walks than Ks in his career. You go, Juan Soto. Also, Anthony who?

Bullpen Action: Sam Clay came on with runners on second and third and no one out in the fifth, with Jason Heyward at the plate, and two unproductive groundouts later, he got out of the frame without any damage. Still 5-1 Cubbies.

Jefry Rodríguez took over for the Nationals in the top of the sixth, and retired the Cubs in order, but the visitors added a run in the top of the seventh, with a two-out rally that saw Patrick Wisdom single, move up on a walk to David Bote, and score on an RBI single off of Jason Heyward’s bat, 6-1.

Rodríguez worked around a leadoff walk for a scoreless eighth in his third inning of relief work.

Rex Brothers gave up a leadoff double by Juan Soto in the bottom of the eighth, and Ryan Zimmerman walked in the next at bat, before Josh Bell drove Soto in from second with an RBI single, 6-2 Cubbies. Luis García singled to right in the next at bat to load the bases and end Brothers’ night.

Codi Heuer took over for Chicago and got an out at home on a Tres Barrera grounder to third. Carter Kieboom hit a sac fly to center in the next at bat, 6-3,

Andres Machado tossed a clean top of the ninth to keep it a three-run game.

Kyle Ryan came on to close it out, and gave up a one-out walk to Victor Robles, but Juan Soto hit into a game-ending DP in the next AB. That’s all, folks.

Final Score: 6-3 Cubs

Nationals now 48-56