Washington’s Nationals scored three runs in the third, on a two-run single by Josh Bell and an RBI hit by Yadiel Hernández, and they added a run an inning later, when Bell drove in another with a bases-loaded hit that put the home team up 4-1. But Chicago Cubs’ center fielder Rafael Ortega, who homered off Nats’ starter Erick Fedde to start the game, hit his second of the afternoon, and fifth of the season, off of Fedde in the sixth, 4-3, and after a homer by Yadiel Hernández made it 5-3, Ortega hit another one, this one a two-run shot off of Wander Suero, that tied things up at 5-5 in the eighth.
Yadiel Hernández hit his second home run of the game to lead off the ninth, however, and the Nationals beat the Cubs, 6-5, and took 2 of 3 in the series.
Fedde vs the Cubs: Erick Fedde took the hill this afternoon winless in his last seven outings, with a 6.68 ERA, 17 walks, 25 strikeouts, and a .295/.376/.485 line against in 32 1⁄3 innings of work over that stretch.
Last time out before this afternoon, the 28-year-old right-hander gave up eight hits (two of them home runs) and four runs in 4 2⁄3 IP on the road against the Phillies.
Three of the eight hits and two of the four runs he allowed came in his final inning of work in the fifth.
“I really liked it honestly until the fifth,” Fedde said of his stuff against the Phillies.
“I think there was just a couple pitches early where I gave up a double here and there ... but honestly, I was really happy, I liked the way I attacked, and unfortunately that last inning just kind of got away from me.”
Four pitches into the series finale with Chicago this afternoon in the nation’s capital, Fedde and the Nationals were down 1-0, after Cubs’ leadoff man Rafael Ortega hit a center-cut, 94 MPH, 2-1 sinker out to right field, just over the out-of-town scoreboard for his 4th home run of the 2021 campaign.
Fedde held it there in the first, however, and held the Cubbies to one run through three, before the Nationals rallied to take a three-run lead in the bottom of the third, then he got back on the mound with a shutdown inning, a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the fourth which left him with 61 pitches overall on the day.
Fedde was up to 80 pitches and seven-straight Cubs set down after a 19-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth, and he came back out for the sixth and gave up a leadoff single by Andrew Romine and a two-run home run by Rafael Ortega, who got the Nationals’ starter again, this time with a two-run homer to right field that made it a one-run game, 4-3 Nationals.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 2 HRs, 108 P, 62 S, 5/1 GO/FO.
Alzolay vs the Nationals: Cubs’ right-hander Adbert Alzolay took the mound in the series finale with the Nats in D.C. winless in his last eight starts, with a 6.28 ERA, 16 walks, 37 Ks, and a .262/.335/.584 line against 38 2⁄3 IP in that stretch, over which he gave up 14 home runs.
Alzolay retired the Nationals in order in a nine-pitch first after taking the mound with a 1-0 lead, and worked around a line drive leadoff single to left-center by Yadiel Hernández in a 13-pitch second.
Adbert Alzolay, Dirty 85mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/nwEgt3lc8U— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 1, 2021
René Rivera singled to start the third, however, and two outs later an intentional walk to Juan Soto set Josh Bell up with an RBI opportunity he cashed in with a line drive single to left, 1-1, and Soto scored on the play too when Cubs’ catcher Robinson Chirinos threw to second trying to catch Bell and no one covered home to back him up, allowing Soto to rush in from third for a 2-1 lead. Bell scored a batter later, when Yadiel Hernández (2 for 2) drove him in with a ground ball through the right side, 3-1.
A hit-by-pitch on René Rivera and back-to-back, two-out walks by Victor Robles and Juan Soto set Josh Bell up with an RBI opportunity in the home-half of the fourth, and Bell hit a single to right field to make it a 4-1 lead before Yadiel Hernández grounded out to end the threat.
Alzolay got a double play after a single by Carter Kieboom and hit-and-run grounder to right by Adrián Sanchez set the Nationals up with an opportunity to add to their lead in the fifth...
Adbert Alzolay’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 Ks, 82 P, 51 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Yadi Dadi: Yadiel Hernández came into today’s game in the midst of a nice run, going 7 for 13 (.538/.571/.769) with three doubles in his last nine games (two starts) and 14 PAs, which left the 33-year-old outfielder with a .277/.337/.383 line, four doubles and two home runs in 104 total PAs on the year, and against Cubs’ starter Adbert Alzolay, Hernández went 2 for 3 with an RBI hit.
Hernández added an opposite field home run in the bottom of the seventh, taking Cubs’ left-hander Kyle Ryan all the way the other way for his 3rd HR of the year and a 5-3 lead... that didn’t last long.
But he walked off on the Cubs with his second home run in the ninth... [see below]...
Bullpen Action: Cubs’ lefty Adam Morgan came on in the bottom of the sixth inning and set the Nationals down in order in a 17-pitch frame.
Gabe Klobosits got the top of the seventh for the Nationals and retired the side in order in a seven-pitch frame.
Cubs’ southpaw Kyle Ryan gave up Yadiel Hernández’s third hit of the game and third home run of the year on a 1-0 fastball with one out in the Nats’ seventh, with Hernández hitting it out to left for an opposite field blast and a 5-3 Nationals’ lead.
Wander Suero took over with a two-run lead in the top of the eighth, and gave it up, with a one-out walk in front of Rafael Ortega, who hit his third home run of the game out to right on a 3-2 changeup over the middle that stayed inside the foul pole and tied things up at 5-5.
Ortega doubled his HR total on the year today to six overall with his fourth of the three-game series after he hit three homers in 119 PAs before today.
They went to the ninth tied at 5-5.
Kyle Finnegan worked around a runner that reached on catcher’s interference, dialing up a double play in the next at bat before finishing off the Cubs in the top of the ninth.
Manuel Rodríguez came on in a tie game in the bottom of the inning and gave up a walk-off home run to left by Yadiel Hernández, whose second of the game won it for the Nationals.
Final Score: 6-5 Nationals
Nationals now 49-56