Chicago Cubs’ lefty Cole Hamels and Washington Nationals’ righty Max Scherzer had an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel in the finale of this weekend’s three-game series in Wrigley Field, but it was decided in the bullpen with the Cubs’ David Bote hitting a walk-off grand slam off Ryan Madson in the bottom of the ninth to give the home team a 4-3 win.
Scherzer vs Chicago: Max Scherzer took the mound in Wrigley Field unbeaten in his last six outings, (5-0), with a 2.63 ERA, nine walks (1.98 BB/9), 42 Ks (9.21 K/9), and a .207/.256/.393 line against in 41 innings pitched over that stretch.
On the road this season, the back-to-back NL Cy Young award winner had a 2.00 ERA and a .184/.249/.323 line against in 11 starts and 72 innings (vs a 2.51 ERA and .180/.238/.341 line against in 13 starts and 89 2⁄3IP at home in the nation’s capital).
Scherzer struck out seven of 11 batters on 42 pitches in three scoreless as the Nats jumped out to a 1-0 lead. He was up to 57 pitches after he retired the side in order in the home-half of the fourth, and 68 pitches (and seven straight batters retired) after an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth.
Scherzer threw an 0-2 change by Ben Zobrist for the first out of the Cubs’ 7th and his 10th K of the night, and popped Jason Heyward up, but Albert Almora, Jr. hit a 96 mph 3-2 fastball to left field for a two-out double that snapped the Nationals’ starter streak of retired batters at 12 in a row. He fell behind Kyle Schwarber, 3-0, then put him on intentionally, setting up a matchup against catcher Willson Contreras, who K’d swinging over a 2-2 changeup for out No. 3 and K No. 11 on Scherzer’s 106th pitch.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 Ks, 106 P, 71 S, 5/1 GO/FO.
Hamels vs Washington: In his first two starts for the Chicago Cubs, following the July 27th trade with the Rangers which sent pitchers Rollie Lacy and Eddie Butler and a Player to be Named Later to Texas, Cole Hamels was (2-0) with a 0.82 ERA, three walks, 11 strikeouts, and a .244/.326/.244 line against in 11 IP before tonight’s matchup with the Nationals in the third of three in Wrigley Field.
Hamels was going up against a Nationals’ lineup that had a .258/.336/.415 line against left-handers this season, which had them ranked 5th/3rd/7th amongst National League teams.
Ryan Zimmerman walked to start the second, after Hamels retired the Nationals in order in the first, and Daniel Murphy sent a single by third base on a 3-2 heater outside that he went with for an opposite field hit. Zimmerman took third on Murphy’s hit and scored on a sac fly to right by Mark Reynolds, 1-0.
Hamels retired the next 15 batters to step up against him, completing six innings on a total of 80 pitches, though he still trailed, 1-0.
An 18-pitch, 1-2-3 frame in the seventh left Hamels at 98 pitches with 18-straight set down.
Cole Hamels’ Line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 98 P, 61 S, 8/2 GO/FO.
Murph Gonna Murph: Going with a 3-2 fastball outside, sending a grounder by third to set the Nationals up for an RBI opportunity… call his swing and approach Wade Boggs-ish, but it’s positively Murphy-ish at this point as well. With his second inning single, which allowed Ryan Zimmerman to go first-to-third before scoring on a sac fly by Mark Reynolds, Murphy improved to 7 for 9 in this weekend’s series in Wrigley Field, though he grounded out in his second trip to the plate against the Cubs’ lefty (7 for 10, which is still pretty good). Murphy finished the night 1 for 3, leaving him 7 for 11 in the series.
BULLPEN ACTION: Carl Edwards, Jr. took over on the mound for the Cubs in the top of the eighth inning, and retired the Nats in order, setting the 19th, 20th, and 21st straight batters down, picking up where Hamels left off.
Koda Glover got the eighth for the Nationals, and worked around a leadoff single, with a safe call on a Javier Baez chopper to third overturned after it was ruled that the throw by Mark Reynolds beat Baez to the bag. Still 1-0 Nationals.
Brandon Kintzler gave up a chopper by third by Trea Turner, who turned it into a triple when it bounced off the wall and got away from Kyle Schwarber. Juan Soto walked in the next AB, bringing Bryce Harper up. Harper got the intentionals to bring Ryan Zimmerman up, and he hit a 2-0 sinker back up the middle for a two-run single that made it 3-0 Nats.
Justin Wilson took over for Chicago with two on and one out, and retired the next two to keep it 3-0.
Ryan Madson came on for the save opportunity in the home-half of the ninth, but a one-out E:4 on Wilmer Difo and a hit-by-pitches on Albert Almora, Jr. and Willson Contreras loaded the bases with two down, setting pinch hitter David Bote up with an opportunity to win it, that he cashed in with a walk-off grand slam.
Final Score: 4-3 Cubs
Nationals now 60-58