May 24, 2018

Washington Nationals Game 46 Review: Harper and Span go long but Cubs squeak by Nats

CUBS WIN ON WALK-OFF DOUBLE AFTER COSTLY DESMOND ERROR IN NINTH

The Washington Nationals fell 3-2 to the Chicago Cubs Tuesday night as second baseman Addison Russell hit his first career walk-off with a double against left-handed reliever Matt Grace, wasting a solid seven innings pitched by Jordan Zimmermann.

Despite a shaky opening with Zimmermann giving up a lead-off home run to Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler to start the game, the right-handed starter struck out five batters and only surrendered that one run while walking two. Zimmermann regained his dominance and maintained his momentum against Chicago’s offense after giving up that initial run in the first. He even tallied three strikeouts against the top the Cubs’ order in the fifth inning before finishing out the seventh inning with a Fowler strikeout.

Next up: outfielder Bryce Harper attained another career milestone leading off the seventh inning for Washington when he hit his 17th home run of the season — his first career homer at historic Wrigley Field — off Cubs right-handed starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks to tie the game 1-1. Outfielder Denard Span also went long, in the eighth off of Cubs right-handed reliever Pedro Strop, to make it a 2-1 game.

But Harper’s childhood friend and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant launched a solo shot off right-handed reliever Aaron Barrett shortly thereafter in the eighth inning, which tied the game at 2.

A throwing error made by shortstop Ian Desmond in the top of the ninth cost the Nats the game by advancing the Cubs’ runner, pinch-hitter Jonathan Herrera. Herrera eventually scored the winning run on Russell’s walk-off double, a blast to right-center.

HERO: It’s not typical, but this is a split between Bryce Harper and Denard Span for their solo home runs, both of which tied up the game giving Washington a shot at a win.

GOAT: Since the hero title was split, a goat split seems fitting as well. Ian Desmond’s throwing error and Matt Grace giving up a two-out double didn’t exactly help the Nats beat the Cubs.

NATS NOTES:

  • Desmond has an 11-game hitting streak.
  • Harper’s first homer at Wrigley.

NEXT UP: Max Scherzer (5-3, 1.67) face Jon Lester (4-2, 3.56) at 8:05 p.m. Eastern Time from Wrigley Field in Chicago.

About Rachel Levitin

Rachel Levitin is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals. For the past five seasons, she was credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals as an author for We Love DC. During her time spent with WLDC, Rachel composed game stories, covered off-the-field special events, and chronicled both of the Nats’ recent playoff runs. In addition to her work with WLDC, Rachel’s writing has been featured in the Washington Examiner and on MASNSports.com where she has been a featured guest blogger for the Nationals Buzz blog since 2011. Her love for baseball stems from having grown up on the north side of Chicago and falling in love with the sport’s history as a result of growing up just minutes from Wrigley Field. Rachel moved to DC in 2005 and has been following along with the Nats since their inaugural season. You can follow Rachel on Twitter @RHLevitin.

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