The Washington Nationals won their fifth straight game, topping the visiting Chicago Cubs 7-3 behind Ian Desmond's big night at the plate.
Washington improved to 20-15, breathing down the necks of the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, who also won to stay 1.5 games ahead of the Nats.
Short Stop Ian Desmond swung the big timber tonight, notching three hits, including a 2-run homer and an RBI double. His production made up for the Nats missing two-thirds of their strating outfield, with LF Bryce Harper [ingrown toenail] and Jayson Werth [left hamstring] both on the shelf.
Starter Ross Detwiler pitched another good game, improving his mark to 2-3 with a 2.53 ERA, after chucking 6 and 2/3 innings, giving up 2 runs, 8 hits, walking none and striking out two. Craig Stammen pitched the final 2 and 1/3 innings, giving up one run.
It was Chicago that got off to the fast start, though, with Starlin Castro doubling to lead off the game and scoring in the first inning to put the Cubs up 1-0.
In the second inning Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa reached on an infield single and a fielding error and Kurt Suzuki made the Cubs pay by doubling to drive in both runners, putting the Nats up 2-1. Casto came back in the third inning and doubled to center, driving in a run to tie the game at two. When Castro tried to put the Cubs ahead later in the inning by coming home on a single, RF Roger Bernadina threw home to Suzuki, who dived at the runner and Castro was called out at the plate.
Adam LaRoche singled in the fourth and Desmond followed up with a 386-foot homer to left to put the Nats up 4-2, a lead they would not relinquish. But Desmond wasn't done. In the fifth inning, after Ryan Zimmerman singled, Desmond came up and doubled to deep right, plating Zimmerman and advancing LaRoche to third base. That pushed Washington's lead to 5-2. But the Nats were still not done. With LaRoche at third and Desmond at second, Espinosa crushed a pitchi into deep center for another double, scoring LaRoche and Desmond and giving the Nationals a safe 7-2 lead. Earlier in the fifth inning, CF Denard Span made a beautiful tumbling catch at the warning track of a ball hit by Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzja, to keep Washington's lead safe.
A fair amount of credit must be given to Detwiler, who wasn't at his best tonight, but managed to wriggle out of trouble several times. The Cubs hit five doubles in the first five innings, but only got two runs out of it because Detwiler was able to get timely outs to limit the damage.
Werth is headed to the disabled list, backdated to May 2, and is expected to return May 18. Harper is expected back for Saturday's game.no comments