Ian Desmond plated three runs for the Washington Nationals (20-15) as they topped the Chicago Cubs (13-22), 7-3 to record their fifth straight win Friday night.
Desmond closed out the night just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle and his three hits on the night helped awaken a sleepy Nats’ offense.
Left-hander Ross Detwiler (W, 2-3) looked sharp, allowing eight hits, two runs and no walks in 6.2 innings pitched. He tossed 57 of 90 pitches for strikes but, oddly enough, gave up six doubles on the night.
The Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija (L, 1-5), on other hand did little to slow Washington’s scoring. In 5.0 innings pitched, he gave up eight hits, seven runs—five earned—and two walks to the Nats.
Washington played without Jayson Werth who will likely go to the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring injury, Nats manager Davey Johnson said after the game. The Nats also missed Bryce Harper Friday night after he underwent a minor procedure to remove an ingrown toenail.
The Cubs struck first against Detwiler. In the top of the first, Starlin Castro led off with a double and advanced to third on Cody Ransom’s grounder back to the mound. Anthony Rizzo followed up with a ground ball to Danny Espinosa that brought home Castro to give Chicago an early 1-0 lead.
The Nats, however, had an answer in the second. Desmond singled with one out and Espinosa reached on Samardzija’s fielding error. Tyler Moore popped out for the second out, but Kurt Suzuki doubled to bring home both Desmond and Espinosa to make it 2-1 Nats.
But, the Cubs wasted little time tying things up again.
Smardzija himself doubled to left on the first pitch he saw in the third and Castro sent one to deep center to bat in Smardzija with his own double to make it 2-2.
And so, the Nats decided to tally two more runs yet again in the fourth. Adam LaRoche continued to show signs of life with a single to center to set up a prime opportunity for Desmond.
Then, Desmond delivered. With a 0-1 count, Desmond socked an 83 MPH slider over the left field wall to give the Nats a 4-2 lead.
But, his night didn’t stop there.
With two outs in the fifth, Ryan Zimmerman walked before LaRoche recorded another single. Desmond’s streak continued with a double to right and Espinosa copied to give the Nats three runs in the inning and a 7-2 lead.
The Cubs earned one back off Craig Stammen in the ninth via a Ryan Sweeney walk, a Darwin Barney double and a David DeJesus ground out, but it turned out to be all they would forfeit on the night.
With the win, the Nats have now matched their season-high five games above .500.
THE GOOD: Ross Detwiler may not have one-hit the Cubs, but he avoided would-be jams sparked by doubles because of his ability to regain – and, later, maintain – control.
Ian Demond went 3-for-4 with three hits, three runs and three RBIs but, what’s not to be overlooked is the fact that Adam LaRoche went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Regardless of whether or not you want to make the claim that his lackluster April was simply “Adam being Adam,” it’s still reassuring to see him contribute on a night when the Nats were without some of their leaders.
In other good news – Roger Bernadina made quite the throw from right – and Kurt Suzuki followed up with a big-time tag – to catch Starlin Castro at home and save Detwiler an extra run to contend with in the third.
THE BAD: Have Jayson Werth’s injury woes reared their ugly heads again already?
THE UGLY: Bryce Harper tweeted a picture of his ingrown toenail removal. Do not view if you boast a weak stomach.
THE STATS: 7 R, 9 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 3-for-6 with RISP, 3 LOB, 1 GIDP
NEXT GAME: Saturday, 4:05 p.m. former National RHP Edwin Jackson (0-5) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-4)