Bryce Harper walked in each of his first three plate appearances tonight, but finally got a pitch to hit in the seventh, with Anthony Rendon on second in a 5-4 game in the Chicago Cubs’ favor, and hit a go-ahead, two-run home run out to center to make it a 6-5 game in Washington, D.C.’s Nationals Park.
Of course, the Nats and Cubs had to endure a 1 hour, 27 minute rain delay (between 12:04 AM and 1:31 AM) before they could finish the bottom of the eighth and top of the ninth.
Rodriguez vs the Cubbies: After a solid outing on the mound against the New York Mets in Citi Field in which he tossed six scoreless innings and gave up just two hits, Nationals’ right-hander Jefry Rodriguez struggled the last time out before facing the Chicago Cubs tonight, giving up seven hits, seven walks, and seven earned runs in just 4 2⁄3 IP at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Rodriguez was moved to the bullpen after that start, since he was well over his previous season-high in innings pitched and the Nationals wanted to be cautious with the young right-hander, but with a doubleheader in the nation’s capital today they called upon the rookie starter one more time in the nightcap against the Cubbies.
Rodriguez tossed three scoreless and hitless on 47 pitches, but gave up a leadoff walk and a one-out grounder that got by Ryan Zimmerman (E:3). An intentional walk to Kyle Schwarber loaded the bases with one down, and Rodriguez struck David Bote out for the second out of the inning before giving up a grand slam on a 1-0 change to Cubs’ catcher Victor Caratini, who hit a base-clearing blast over the out-of-town scoreboard to give the Cubs a 4-0 lead.
Jefry Rodriguez’s Line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 83 P, 47 S, 1/3 GO/FO.
That bat flip though:
Hamels vs the Nationals: Cole Hamels tossed seven strong against the Nationals on August 12th in Wrigley Field, in his first home start after the trade that brought him to Chicago from the Texas Rangers.
Hamels took the mound tonight in Nationals Park unbeaten in seven starts with the Cubs, with a 1.00 ERA, 12 walks, 43 Ks, and a .214/.282/.234 line against in 45 IP.
He tossed 3 2⁄3 hitless, but the leadoff walk he issued to Bryce Harper in the fourth came back to haunt him when Adrian Sanchez hit a two-out RBI double to center that Albert Almora, Jr. couldn’t catch in spite of a valiant effort, 4-1.
Anthony Rendon cut into the lead with a solo home run on a 1-0 fastball in the first at bat of the sixth, hitting his 19th home run of the season over the right corner of the visiting team’s bullpen in left field and into the Red Porch seats, 4-2 Cubs.
Adrian Sanchez added a two-out RBI double on a liner to right and Hamels’ night ended there with the Cubbies still up, 4-3.
Cole Hamels’ Line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 51 S, 3/7 GO/FO.
BULLPEN ACTION: Austen Williams took over on the mound for Jefry Rodriguez in the fifth and worked around a leadoff single for a scoreless, 17-pitch inning.
Sammy Solis worked around a leadoff single (on which Kyle Schwarber slipped on first base and fell), but stranded the only runner to reach in a scoreless, 10-pitch inning.
Carl Edwards, Jr. took over for the Cubs with a runner on second and two out in the sixth, and a 4-3 lead, and walked Michael A. Taylor before striking Spencer Kieboom out on 3-2 fastball the Nats’ catcher and Nationals’ bench didn’t like.
Solis returned in the top of the seventh and gave up a leadoff single by Tommy La Stella, but struck Ian Happ out before Davey Martinez went to the pen for Wander Suero. Pinch runner Terrance Gore stole second and third with Albert Almora, Jr. at the plate and then scored on Kris Bryant’s two-out RBI double into the left-center gap, 5-3.
Steve Cisek gave up back-to-back one-out hits in the Nationals’ seventh, a swinging bunt by Trea Turner and an RBI double by Anthony Rendon, 5-4, and Justin Wilson came on against Bryce Harper and gave up a go-ahead, two-run home run that put the Nationals up 6-5. No. 32 for Harper.
Koda Glover got the eighth for the Nationals and recorded the first out, but Davey Martinez went to the pen for Sean Doolittle against Cubs’ pinch hitter Daniel Murphy. Doolittle made quick work of Murphy, throwing an 0-2 fastball by him for the second out of the inning with rain picking up, and retired Victor Caratini to end the top of the eighth…
… and Rain Delay at 12:04 AM in D.C….
… 1 hour and 27 minutes later, the resumed play, at 1:32 AM.
Jesse Chavez tossed a scoreless eighth for the Cubs to keep it a one-run game.
Greg Holland got the ninth for the Nats and hit the first batter he faced, Willson Contreras, then got a fly to center and game-ending 6-3 DP.
Final Score: 6-5 Nationals
Nationals now 71-72