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Hitting lowlight: Let's see ... they produced five singles through the game's first six innings, getting only one at-bat with a man in scoring position. They finally got on the board in the seventh, when Wilson Ramos destroyed a 3-2 fastball from Samardzija out of the ballpark and onto Waveland Avenue. Ramos stood and admired it, too, perhaps not something you want to do when your team trails 8-1 at the time. That was everything the Nationals did against Samardzija, who mowed through the lineup with ease en route to a complete-game victory.
Pitching lowlight: Zimmermann has struggled through some rough nights over the last month, but this one took the cake. He put himself in a 3-0 hole after only four batters, and departed after five innings having served up three homers while allowing eight total runs. That matched the highest total he has ever allowed in the majors, a disturbing fact. What happened to the staff ace and would-be Cy Young Award contender? Only July 1, he was named an All-Star for the first time in his career when he sported an 11-3 record, 2.28 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. In eight starts since, he's now 3-4 with a 5.30 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. Zimmermann's arm appears to be fine; his fastball was 94 mph tonight. Perhaps his neck is acting up again. Whatever the reason, he simply isn't the same pitcher now he was six weeks ago.
Key stat: Nobody in the Cubs lineup tonight owned more than 51 career home runs. That lineup clubbed five homers in the game.
Up next: Dan Haren faces left-hander Chris Rusin in the second game of the series. First pitch on Tuesday is once again scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EDT.