CHICAGO — Anthony Rizzo looped a tiebreaking single with two outs in the eighth inning and the Chicago Cubs overcame Max Scherzer’s brilliant performance to beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 on Monday for a 2-1 lead in their NL Division Series.
Scherzer was dominant in his return from a right hamstring injury, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh. But just like in Game 1, when Chicago was held hitless into the sixth by Stephen Strasburg, the World Series champion Cubs showed off their resilience on the way to a stirring victory.
In the best-of-five series is Tuesday. Jake Arrieta returns from his own hamstring injury for the Cubs, while Tanner Roark gets the ball for the Nationals.
Chicago committed four errors, including two by left fielder Kyle Schwarber on one ugly play, and Rizzo and Jason Heyward each made uncharacteristic baserunning mistakes. But the Cubs got a huge pinch-hit single from Albert Almora Jr. and a solid pitching performance from Jose Quintana in the return of postseason baseball to Wrigley Field after last year’s World Series ended in Cleveland.
With pinch-runner Leonys Martin on second in the eighth, Rizzo hit a blooper to left off Oliver Perez that found a patch of outfield grass between three Washington fielders. Rizzo stumbled after he took a big turn around first and was tagged out to end the inning, but he didn’t seem to care too much, yelling and screaming as the Cubs came out of the dugout for the ninth.
All-Star Wade Davis then retired three in a row for his second save of the series. Jayson Werth popped out to Rizzo to end the game.