Nats Expedite Series Win Over Cubs
The Washington Nationals won the final game of a home series with the Chicago Cubs in less than two hours. The Nats won the last three games of the four-game set and clinched their third series victory out of their last four.
Game 1: CUBS 5, Nats 1
MacKenzie Gore’s off night started almost immediately. In the first inning, Gore hurt his cause by throwing wildly to first base on a pickoff attempt of Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki, who advanced all the way to third base on the error. The Cubs went on to score two runs in the top half of the first, enough to win the game.
Gore pitched four innings, giving up seven hits and allowing four runs. He struck out four and walked two. With the loss, Gore fell to 3-2 on the season with a respectable 3.77 ERA.
Luis Garcia (2-4) and Dominic Smith (3-3, 2B) accounted for most of the Nats six hits. Lane Thomas’ first homer of the season accounted for all the Nats scoring.
Once again, the Nats bullpen held the fort and allowed just one run in the last five innings of the game. Mason Thompson and Thad Ward combined for three innings and gave up no runs on one hit, no walks, and three strikeouts. RHP Corey Abbot, recalled from the Rochester Red Wings on May 1, surrendered a run on two hits, a walk, and a strikeout in his two innings of work.
Nats fell to 10-18.
Time of game: 2:29.
GAME 2: NATS 4, Cubs 1
Trevor Williams pitched five excellent innings before being lifted in the sixth with one out. Williams didn’t allow a run on four hits, one walk, and four strikeouts.
Dom Smith singled in the seventh and advanced to second base on a ground out. Smith scored on a single by CJ Abrams (3-3, 2R, RBI) and the Nats took the lead, 2-1. Later in the inning, Alex Call (1-4, 2 RBI) doubled home two more runs to account for the final score of 4-1. Victor Robles went 2-2 with a run and a sacrifice.
Carl Edwards Jr. pitched out of a bases loaded jam with a strikeout and a pop-up to end the Cubs sixth inning. Edwards earned his fifth hold of the year. But Mason Thompson gave up a tying home run to Patrick Wisdom to lead off the top of the seventh inning which resulted in his second blown save of the season. Hunter Harvey won his first game of the year against zero losses. Kyle Finnegan earned his sixth save.
Nats improved to 11-18.
Time of Game: 2:35.
GAME 3: NATS 2, Cubs 1
The Nationals placed RHP Chad Kuhl (right foot metatarsalgia) on the 15-day injured list retroactive to April 30. To take his spot in the rotation for the second game of the Cubs series, the Nats recalled RHP Jake Irvin from the Rochester Red Wings. Irvin plunked Nico Hoerner with the first pitch of his MLB career. Hoerner came around to score to put the Cubs up 1-0.
Irvin lasted 4.1 innings, giving up one run on two hits, but did have four walks to his three strikeouts.
The Nats tied the game when Smith grounded into a double play in the bottom of the second. Smith was seven for his last 16 before the at-bat.
In the seventh, Lane Thomas (2-3, 3B, R) hit a ground ball triple, his first of the year, down the LF line. CJ Abrams knocked in Thomas with another go-ahead single. Abrams is the team leader with 15 RBI. But soon after, CJ was picked off first base trying to steal.
The Nats used four relievers to shut out the Cubs the rest of the way. Andres Machado logged 1.2 innings, Carl Edwards Jr. also threw one inning and earned the win to even his record at 1-1. Hunter Harvey threw 13 of his 14 pitches for strikes and hit 99.9 mph on the radar gun. Harvey notched his seventh hold of the year.
Although Kyle Finnegan gave up two singles in the ninth inning, he recorded his seventh save when the game ended on Washington’s fourth double play of the night. The Nationals sit tied for second with the Colorado Rockies in all of MLB with 32 double plays. Only the St. Louis Cardinals have more DPs (33).
The Nats won back-to-back home games for the first time in ’23 and improved to 12-18.
Time of Game: 2:27.
GAME 4: NATS 4, Cubs 3
In less than two hours (1:55), the Washington Nationals won their third game in a row, a first in 2023.
Patrick Corbin retired the first two batters he faced on swinging strikes. The game moved along briskly as Corbin used just 56 pitches through five innings. Through six innings, Corbin allowed only one baserunner on a sun assisted single to Cody Bellinger in the second inning. He did not issue a walk but struck out six in giving up two runs. Two batters into the eighth inning, manager Davey Martinez removed Corbin from the longest outing for a Nats starting pitcher this season.
Following singles by Joey Meneses and Dominic Smith, Lane Thomas hammered a ball high over the left field fence to give Corbin and the Nats an early 3-0 cushion. Unfortunately, Corbin would not get the win.
The Nats bullpen bent but didn’t break after Corbin left with two runners aboard in the seventh. Hunter Harvey pitched for the third day in a row and blew his first save of the season. But Harvey limited the damage and so did Kyle Finnegan who got three outs in a row after giving up a walk and a double in the top of the ninth. With his first win, Finnegan evened his record at 1-1.
Alex Call hit the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning for a game winning home run. Call had been 1-15 in the series up to that point.
The Nationals took the final three games of the four-game set vs the Chicago Cubs and have now won three of their last four series. Call played just his third game of the season in CF and made two key sparkling catches.
Nats improved to 13-18. Since a 4-11 start, the Nats are 9-7.
Time of Game: 1:55. In case you’re wondering, at least one other game this season took less than two hours to complete. On April 4, Sandy Alcantara and the Miami Marlins shutout the Minnesota Twins in 1:57.
Other Recent Transactions
- May 2: signed free agent RHP José Ureña to a minor league contract. If this name rings a bell, the Nats faced Ureña in Colorado last month.
- May 3: activated 2B Ildemaro Vargas from the 10-day injured list.
- May 4: sent SS Carter Kieboom on a rehab assignment to the Harrisburg Senators.
Up next for the Nats: A three-game series in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks (17-14, second in NL West) and then immediately on to San Francisco to face the Giants (13-17, fourth in NL West) for three more games.