Cubs Split Season Series with Nats

The Chicago Cubs avenged an earlier series loss to the Washington Nationals and evened the season score at three games apiece. In game one, the Nats road the long ball and an effective bullpen to victory.  However, the Washington relief corps collapsed late in the last two games.  With better hitting with runners in scoring position, the Cubs ran away with the series at home.

Game 1: NATIONALS 7, Cubs 5

CJ Abrams led off the contest by getting hit with a pitch. Abrams got picked off first but advanced to second base with some luck and speed. Jeimer Candelario (2-4) kept his trade stock high and followed with a two-run homer to give his team a 2-0 Washington lead. For Candelario, it was his 14th homer and 44-45th RBIs.

MacKenzie Gore (W, 5-7) shut down the Cubs with a 1-2-3 first inning.  But the Cubs would put together a couple of hits and a walk in the bottom of the second frame to score a single run.  Gore was able to hold off further damage and rebounded with a 10-pitch third inning. 

In the top of the fourth, the Nats had a little more luck on their side.  With runners on second and third and nobody out, Dominic Smith hit a soft grounder to the right side for an RBI. 

More Defensive Miscues by Cubs

Luis Garcia hit a liner to Cubs second baseman Christopher Morel who could not squeeze it and the Nats had another run to extend their lead over the Cubs, 4-1. In the top of the sixth, the Nats capitalized on another fielding issue by Chicago. This time Cubs CF Cody Bellinger lost a ball in the lights and Stone Garrett wound up on second base.  After advancing to third, Garrett scored on a sac fly by Luis Garcia to make it 5-1.

Gore could not shut down the Cubs in the bottom half of the sixth as he gave up a two-run shot to Chicago LF Ian Happ.  The Nats lead was cut to 5-3. But Keibert Ruiz homered for the second straight day in the top of the seventh.  Ruiz two-run laser to right field left the yard quickly and the Nats were back up by four, 7-3.

Despite a terrific catch by Garrett down the left field line, Gore couldn’t hold off the Cubs in the bottom half of inning seven.  Patrick Wisdom unloaded a bomb deep over the left field wall and the Cubs matched the two runs that the Nats scored in the top of the frame.

After Mason Thompson held on for 1.1 innings, Kyle Finnegan stranded two inherited runners.   Finnegan benefited from some good fortune too when Alex Call snared a liner to end the Chicago threat in the eighth inning.  Finnegan got three more outs in the ninth for his 12th save of the year. 

Game 2: CUBS 17, Nationals 3

Lane Thomas kept his potential trade value high and got the Nats off to an early lead with this 15th home run of the year.  Corey Dickerson drove in two more runs in the top of the second with a line drive to left-center field.  But Washington would not score another run.

Patrick Corbin kept the Nats in the game for 5.1 innings and then the wheels came off.  Against the Nationals “tier 2” bullpen, the Cubs scored six in the seventh and eight more in the bottom of the eighth to complete the rout.  Paolo Espino got clobbered for eight runs in just a third of an inning and was promptly placed on the 15-day injured list with a flexor strain of his ring finger.

GAME 3: CUBS 8, Nationals 3

Trevor Williams gave up his 20th home run of the season in the home half of the first inning.  Williams produced five decent innings and allowed two runs on seven hits.  At the time of his departure, the Nats were down by only a run, 2-1.

Joey Meneses smacked his 100th hit of the year.  Meneses scored by way of two fortunately placed infield grounders to tie the game at one in the second inning.

In the top of the eighth, the Nationals tied the game at three.  Jeimer Candelario led off the inning with this 15th home run, an opposite field shot.  A few batters later, Luis Garcia singled sharply up the middle to score Michael Chavis.

But like the night before, the Nats bullpen imploded in the eighth inning.  This time it was Mason Thompson (L, 3-3) who gave up four runs on two hits and two free passes.  Cubs SS Nico Hoerner clubbed a grand slam off Cory Abbott to finish the scoring.

Nats record:  38-58.  Washington split the season series vs the Cubs at three games apiece.

Next Up for the DC9:  a day off on Thursday and then they return home to face the San Francisco Giants.  The Giants are tied for second place with the Arizona Diamondbacks, just two games back of the LA Dodgers in the NL West. SF has won seven of their previous ten games.

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Dominic Toto

Blogging about the Nats since 2022. Nats nut since 2004. Once hit a batting practice ball that cleared the infield dirt at Nationals Park on a fly.

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