Washington Nationals win 6-5 over Chicago Cubs; snap 6-game slide…
Espino to Chicago:
Paolo Espino had a 2.03 ERA, 3.05 FIP, four walks, 20 Ks and a .228/.257/.317 line in 26 2⁄3 IP out of the bullpen to start the season, but before you take the mound tonight stand up against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, the 35-year-old veteran had a 5.52 ERA, 6.13 FIP, nine walks, 33 Ks and a .302/.333/.570 line against 10 starts and 44 IP since joining the Nationals from Washington. ‘ rotation back on June 12.
Espino was coming off a four-set outing in a rain-shortened 5-4 loss to the Phillies which saw him give up seven hits (two homers) and five earned runs on 71 pitches.
The homers, at Citizens Bank Park, were the 12th and 13th he had allowed in 44 innings as a starter, having allowed just two in 26 2⁄3 IP as reliever.
“They had a few balls in the air, and they still hit it good. But it’s unfortunate. As a pitcher here you have to make your pitches, and Espino had some good pitches.
“But like I said, you put the ball in the air at this time of year, anything can happen.”
If you leave a slider in the middle at any time of the year… at Wrigley Field, something is likely to happen too, which happened, when Espino left a 1-0 slider at Seiya Suzuki, in the middle of the the Cubs’ first half-second at bat, and Suzuki hit it, 387 feet to left field for a solo hit tying a half inning after the Nationals went 1-0 up on a Keibert Ruiz outburst, 1-1.
Espino held the Cubs to one pass of four, with a 4-1 lead to work after three and a half, but he hit Willson Contreras with two outs in the Cubs’ fifth and gave up a long left double by Ian Happ who nearly went out, putting riders second and third ahead of Suzuki, who lined up on the left to end the threat.
Line of Paolo Espino: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 6/1 GO/FO.
Stro vs. Nats:
Signed to a 3-year/$71 million free agent deal this winter, 31-year-old Marcus Stroman had made 14 starts for the Cubs prior to tonight, with a 4.00 ERA, 3.76 FIP , 18 steps, 68K and a .238/. Line 282/.401 against in 74 1⁄3 IP, running out of time with inflammation in his right shoulder, but returning in early July for five starts before facing the Nationals at Wrigley Field, on which he had a 1.67 ERA, 3.04 FIP, six walks, 23 Ks and a .214/.257/.327 line against in 27 IP.
Stroman worked around a one-out walk to Luke Voit in an 18-pitch first, but gave Keibert Ruiz a 2-2 lead in the zone with one out in the second, and the 24-year-old Nationals hit it 384 feet to right field for its fifth homer of the season and a 1-0 national championship lead.
Ruiz recovered Stroman again in the third, on a 2-2 cutter, and meanwhile, hitting a three-run shot into right field after back-to-back hits from Yadiel Hernández and Joey Meneses, 4-1 Nationals on 6 de Ruiz in 2022.
Line of Marcus Stroman: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 90 P, 55 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Luke Voit started the night with an 18-game base streak, during which he had 19 hits, seven walks, three TDs and a .392 OBP, and the New Nats was 7 for 17 (.417 AVG), with two home runs, three RBIs, two walks, one hit per pitch and three runs as a National since arriving in the Juan deal last Tuesday. Soto/Josh Bell with the Padres.
He had a 19-game streak after facing Cubs starter Marcus Stroman for the first time, taking four straight balls after falling 0-2 to the right-hander.
Erich Uelmen took over for the Cubs in the top of the sixth and got a 6-4-3 DP in the bottom of the inning after giving up a one-out single to Yadiel Hernández and a two-out walk to Keibert Ruiz.
Erasmo Ramírez took over for the Nationals in the bottom of the sixth and retired the Cubs in order within a 13-pitch frame. Still 1-0 Nats.
Uelmen threw another scoreless frame in the top of the seventh.
Zach McKinstry picked Ramírez to lead half of the Cubs’ seventh inning, then Christopher Morel also followed with a right hit, sending McKinstry to third with no one, and a right blooper Rafael Ortega made it a two – running game, 4-2.
Kyle Finnegan took over from Ramírez with runners at first and third and no one was coming out, and the right-hander gave up the fourth straight shot, an RBI single to the right by Willson Contreras, 4-3.
Ian Happ stepped in next and lined one up on center field, where Lane Thomas caught No. 1, and threw home for Ortega to try and score from third base, 8-2 in double game. Always 4-3 Nationals.
Seiya Suzuki singled to keep the bottom of the seventh alive, and Franmil Reyes stepped in next and fielded an RBI single right to tie it, 4-4, before Nico Hoerner connected for the seventh hit of the inning, and led in the fourth inning, 5-4 Cubbies.
Mark Leiter, Jr. took over with the Cubs suddenly ahead after seven years, and gave up a hit from Maikel Franco and a two-out home run and two runs left from Joey Meneses, including the third hit. homer since being called up to make his MLB debut put the Nats up 6-5. Shot from 358 feet for Meneses.
Andres Machado gave up a first Zach McKinstry single (3 for 4), but got two out, then the Nationals went to Carl Edwards, Jr., with McKinstry in second, and Edwards, Jr. went to a full count and hit Willson Contreras with a curveball, still 6-5.
Edwards, Jr. returned to the mound for the bottom of the ninth and gave up a hit from Seiya Suzuki (3 for 5). Nelson Velazquez stepped in with a chance to get away, but the Cubs tried to steal a sack, and Keibert Ruiz pitched at second where César Hernández tagged Suzuki after he slipped by the sack.
A walk to Velazquez allowed Nico Hoerner to fire two at-bats, but he watched a 3-2 fastball inside to end it. Ball game. National victory, 6-5.
Nationals now 37-75