|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
Ross Ohlendorf returns from a shoulder injury to make his first start in three weeks. The veteran right-hander pitched brilliantly prior to his DL stint; you just hope he didn't burn himself out completely with that 114-pitch start against the Mets in a doubleheader.
Former Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta gets the start for Chicago. He'll be facing a lineup that has Denard Span back in center field leading off but is without Anthony Rendon or Wilson Ramos, each getting the night off.
Updates to come...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at CHICAGO CUBS
Where: Wrigley Field
Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 85 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to CF
CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
2B Steve Lombardozzi
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Ross Ohlendorf
SS Starlin Castro
1B Anthony Rizzo
CF Junior Lake
RF Nate Schierholtz
3B Donnie Murphy
LF Brian Bogusevic
2B Darwin Barney
C Welington Castillo
RHP Jake Arrieta
HP Mike Winters (cc)
1B Tim Timmons
2B Laz Diaz
3B Bill Miller
8:08 p.m. — We are underway with Denard Span grounding out on Jake Arreita's first pitch. The Nats got a brief scare during BP when Ian Desmond's back locked up. Davey Johnson thought he would need to make a change at shortstop, with Anthony Rendon getting the nod. But Desmond's condition improved, so he remains in the lineup as planned.
8:25 p.m. — The good news: Ohlendorf's fastball velocity in the bottom of the first was 94-95 mph, a very encouraging sign given that it was down around 90 mph in his last rehab start. The bad news: A 95 mph fastball doesn't work when it's thrown right down the pipe as it was to Anthony Rizzo. The Cubs first baseman launched that 3-2 meatball to right field for a solo homer, putting the Cubs up 1-0 after one.
8:50 p.m. — Whoa, it's a rally by the Nats. They loaded the bases with one out in the top of the second, then scored a pair when Kurt Suzuki's sharp grounder ricocheted off Rizzo's glove and into right field, scoring Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche. Ohlendorf then put down a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring Steve Lombardozzi and giving the Nats a 3-1 lead through two.
9:09 p.m. — Jayson Werth's red-hot summer continues. He just blasted a three-run homer to left, putting the Nats up 6-1 in the third. Check out his updated season totals: .331/.408/.531, 18 homers, 56 RBI, .939 OPS. His batting average, on-base percentage and OPS are higher than in any previous season in his career. That's fairly remarkable when you think about it.
9:27 p.m. — The Nats have six runs already, but Denard Span hasn't played much of any role in that. He's had three at-bats in four innings and grounded out three times: to short, second and third (the last a double play). So Denard is just a groundball to the first baseman away from hitting for the groundball cycle tonight. Not something you ever want to accomplish. Still 6-1 heading to the bottom of the fourth.
9:43 p.m. — Carlos Villanueva replaces Arrieta in the fifth and quickly retires the side. Ohlendorf, though, has found his groove and takes the mound for the bottom of the fifth having allowed only Rizzo's first-inning homer. Still 6-1 Nats.
10:08 p.m. — Well, that didn't go so well. Ohlendorf served up another homer to Rizzo, this one landing on Sheffield Ave. behind the right field fence. One more single ended the right-hander's night at 91 pitches and brought Tanner Roark out of the bullpen. A native of nearby Wilmington, Ill., and former star at the University of Illinois, Roark has more than 100 friends and family in the right field bleachers tonight, and they roared as he entered the game. Unfortunately, they didn't have much else to cheer after that. Roark gave up four straight singles and a sac fly, and just like that, the Nats' 6-1 lead has turned into a 6-6 tie game in the fifth.
10:29 p.m. — Much better stuff from Roark in the bottom of the sixth. He struck out the side, bringing even louder roars from the right field bleachers. Still 6-6 as we go to the seventh.
10:47 p.m. — Whoa, Scott Hairston to the rescue. Three-run bomb to left in the top of the seventh, putting the Nats back on top, 9-6. Hairston is now hitting .297 with four extra-base hits against lefties since joining the Nats. Pretty much exactly what they wanted out of the veteran.
11:04 p.m. — And now the Nats tack on insurance in the top of the eighth. Span makes up for his groundout cycle with an RBI triple. He then scored on Zimmerman's single. It's 11-6 heading to the bottom of the eighth.
11:14 p.m. — A 1-2-3 eighth from Tyler Clippard. Rafael Soriano is warming in the pen, even though the Nats lead by five.
11:33 p.m. — Nats win. Final: 11-6. They improve to 62-64 with a chance to take their third straight from the Cubs tomorrow afternoon.