A strong pitching performance from Chicago Cubs right-handed starter Jason Hammel stifled the Nationals’ attempt at a Fourth of July victory in Washington on Friday afternoon. Chicago beat Washington 7-2 and Nats right-handed starting pitcher Tanner Roark didn’t look quite as sharp as he had earlier this season.
Roark pitched seven innings while giving up four runs and one homerun on nine hits. He walked one batter and struck out five on 87 pitches (61 strikes). Chicago came swinging right out of the gate with a pair of singles off Roark to start the game. Leadoff man and outfielder Chris Coghlan scored on a ground out hit by Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo giving Chicago their early 1-0 lead.
Nationals’ outfielder Jayson Werth answered back in the bottom of the first with a crushed solo shot off Hammel to left field tying up the game at 1-1. Unfortunately for Washington, Hammel’s strong pitching performance dominated their attempts at hitting the ball and scoring runs.
Chicago outhit Washington fourteen to seven and took advantage of Roark’s appearance by tacking on singular runs in the second, third, and fifth innings making it a 4-1 game. Roark held the Cubs in place for a couple of innings before being pulled for the day and the Nats tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh as they tried to force a comeback.
Second baseman Anthony Rendon scored off a single hit by catcher Wilson Ramos off Cubs reliever Neil Ramirez but that seventh inning rally was all Washington could muster; Cubs 4, Nats 2.
Left-handed reliever Ross Detwiler entered the game to pitch the eighth inning for the Nats in Roark’s place. Detwiler got out of the eighth inning with just one hit – a double to Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro – given up but the ninth inning proved to be troublesome for Washington. Chicago was already up 4-2, leaving a glimmer of a chance for the Nats to make a late-game comeback, but the three extra runs scored by the Cubs in the ninth inning created a big enough gap for Washington’s visitors to win 7-2 in the end.