Wade Davis thwarted an attempt by the Nationals to come back in the final inning by striking major league batting head Ryan Zimmerman with runners second and third and the Chicago Cubs defeated Washington 5-4 on Monday.
Threatened by the possible first shutout of the season, the Nationals, leaders of the NL East, scored four runs in the ninth.
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Washington began its recovery against the Venezuelan Héctor Rondón and continued with Davis, the eighth and final pitcher of Chicago.
With a 5-3 draw on the board, Bryce Harper scored a single and filled the bases with two outs. Davis made a runaway throw that cost his team a run, but then struck out striker Zimmerman, who has a .344 batting average.
The last pitch hit the ground but Venezuelan catcher Willson Contreras made a low pitch to first baseman Anthony Rizzo who sealed the victory.
Contreras fired a first-round lead in the first inning and Eddie Butler (4-2) worked five scoreless innings while preserving the Cubs’ lead.
Gio Gonzalez (7-2) loaded with the loss after allowing one run and two hits, and struck out eight in just over six innings.
For the Cubs, Willson Contreras 4-2, one scored, one produced. The Puerto Rican Javier Báez of 5-2, an annotated, a towed.
For the Nationals, the Dominican Wilmer Difo, one annotated as an emerging runner.