Cubs find winning formula in victory against Nationals

Ruben Hill
August 8, 2017

In the end, the Nats' attempted rallies against the back end of the Cubs bullpen were made all the more daunting because of two home runs their pitching staff surrendered earlier: Alex Avila's two-run shot off Edwin Jackson in the first and Willson Contreras' two-run shot off Matt Grace in the sixth.

"We just thought it was wise to get it settled down right now", Maddon said. The objective is the same: "go out, give us a chance to win". "That's what it's all about this time of year". He went 2 for 4 with a two-home run and three RBIs. With the Mets in the 2015 NL Championship Series, he hit two homers in Chicago and four overall to help NY sweep.

Lackey allowed two earned runs in five innings before departing after 95 pitches. The right-hander allowed five hits while improving to 3-1 in his past four starts. Baseball's ERA leader last season, he missed about seven weeks because of tendinitis in his right hand before returning on July 24. I got one pitch I can hit, hit it foul. It was Avila's first home run since the Cubs acquired him from the Detroit Tigers on Monday.

Lackey has enjoyed a second-half revival, winning his first three starts since the All-Star break. After giving up three homers to Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt on Thursday, the Cubs got pounded by Murphy this time.

Avila's homer capped a disastrous bottom of the first for Jackson, who retired only one of the first six batters he faced, threw 31 pitches and returned to the dugout having surrendered four runs. That gave him two multi-homer games this season and five in his career.

Jon Lester's last start featured some highlights - including his first major league home run - but overall the Chicago Cubs left-hander was not satisfied with his performance. He gave up a leadoff single to Jason Heyward before striking out Baez and getting Ian Happ to ground into a double play.

Many - including Kerry Wood - have come out and said the overabundance of day games at Wrigley Field has contributed to the Cubs' lack of championships over the last century-plus. "I don't mind the getaway weekday game as being a day game and I don't mind the holidays, but I think this constantly having to get up and rush to the ballpark and not having a normal method during the course of the day because then you go on the road and it's entirely differente".

The Cubs also have the city working against them as the Wrigleyville neighborhood only allows so many night games, though the organization is hoping to increase that number from 43 to 54, which would represent the league average for night games. Be sure to check back for more Cubs news, as well as our post game coverage following the final out. Maddon said the foot problem is unrelated.

The Cubs won the World Series last fall for the first time since 1908.

NOTES: The Nationals recalled RHP Erick Fedde from Triple-A Syracuse and placed LHP Gio Gonzalez on the paternity list Saturday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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